, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 127-149
Date: 05 Apr 2006

Clustering of Health-Related Behaviors and Their Determinants: Possible Consequences for School Health Interventions

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Characterizing school health promotion is its category-by-category approach, in which each separate health-related behavior is addressed independently. Such an approach creates a risk that extra-curricular activities become overloaded, and that teaching staff are distracted by continuous innovations. Within the health promotion sector there are thus increasing calls for an integrative approach to health-related behaviors. However, a meaningful integrative approach to different lifestyles will be possible only if there is some clustering of individual health-related behaviors and if health-related behaviors have a minimum number of determinants in common. This systematic review aims to identify to what extent the four health-related behaviors smoking, alcohol abuse, safe sex and healthy nutrition cluster; and how their determinants are associated. Potentially modifiable determinants that offer clues for an integrative approach of school health-promotion programs are identified. Besides, the direction in which health educators should look for a more efficient instructional design is indicated.