Associated Factors of Healthy Lifestyle in the Bahamas
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The Bahamas faces critical challenges due to an increase in chronic diseases (CDs). Overweight and obesity are on the rise among all age groups. In addition, the prevalence of raised blood glucose is 13% and that of high blood pressure is 31%. CDs are responsible for 45% of deaths in the country. The Ministry of Health has been implementing programs and interventions to slow the growth of CDs. These programs focus on tackling risk factors and developing both the National Dietary Guidelines and the nutrition interventions implemented in primary care facilities and in the community. This study is justifiable as it will help gain an in-depth understanding of the current patterns of healthy lifestyle among the Bahamian population to inform national efforts to address the growing problem of CDs. The objective of this study was to analyse and identify the determinants associated with healthy lifestyle in The Bahamas. The study was a secondary analysis of the 2013 Household Expenditure Survey (BHES-2013). The survey covered 2,123 households that were randomly selected throughout the country. The healthy lifestyle module registered data about eating habits and leisure time activities, such as exercising or watching television. The dependent variable selected for this study was the healthy lifestyle index (HLI), composed of four domains: healthy nutrition, healthy screen time, regular physical activity, and non-secondhand smoke. We find that a significant proportion of Bahamian children and adults require additional actions to facilitate improvement of their healthy lifestyle. Less than 8% eat fruits and vegetables three times per day, only one-third watch TV or play computer video games less than two hours per day, and only 30% practice regular physical activity. Teenagers tend to be sedentary. Lower-income level groups were less sedentary and had less screen time than upper-income level groups. Also, a child living in an extended family (two or more siblings) had a greater probability of living a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, being an adult (age 20 to 64 years) and being married or having a partner were associated with a greater likelihood of leading a healthy way of life.