Cancer-related health behaviours of young people not in education, employment or training ‘NEET’: a cross-sectional studyReportar como inadecuado

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BMC Cancer

, 17:165

Epidemiology, prevention and public health


BackgroundLinks between participating in unhealthy behaviours, e.g. smoking, and an increased risk of developing some cancers are well established. Unemployed adults are more likely to participate in cancer-related health behaviours than their employed counterparts. However, evidence of whether this is true in young adults not in education, employment or training NEET compared to their ‘non-NEET’ peers is either limited or inconclusive. Using cross-sectional health data from across the UK, this study aims to investigate whether participation in cancer-related health behaviours varies by NEET status.

MethodsData for 16–24 year olds were extracted from the 2010–12 Health Surveys for England HSE and Scottish Health Surveys SHeS. Information on economic activity in the last week was used to determine NEET status. Data on whether respondents had been seeking employment within the last four weeks and availability to start within the next two weeks allowed NEETs to be further identified as unemployed UE or economically inactive EI. Logistic regression modelled the effect of being NEET on odds of being a current smoker; heavy drinker; not participating in sport; having eaten less than five portions of fruit or vegetables the day before survey interview and having an unhealthy body mass index BMI. Analyses were performed before and after exclusion of EI NEETs.

ResultsData were extracted for 4272 individuals, of which 715 17% were defined as NEET with 371 52% and 342 48% further classified as UE and EI respectively. Two NEETs could not be further defined as UE or EI due to missing information. Relative to non-NEETs, NEETs were significantly more likely to be current smokers, not participate in sport and have an ‘unhealthy’ BMI. These results held after adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics both before and after exclusion of EI NEETs. Before exclusion of EI NEETs, NEETs were significantly less likely to be heavy drinkers than non-NEETs. There was no significant difference in likelihood of heavy drinking between NEETs and non-NEETs when excluding EI NEETs.

ConclusionsNEETs were generally at an increased risk of participating in cancer-related health behaviours than non-NEETs. As the likelihood of becoming NEET is greater in socioeconomically-disadvantaged groups, interventions to discourage unhealthy behaviours in NEETs may contribute to a reduction in health inequalities.

KeywordsNEET Cancer Health behaviours Young adults Unemployed Smoking Alcohol Exercise BMI Lifestyle AbbreviationsCIConfidence interval

EIEconomically inactive

GHQ-1212-item general health questionnaire

HSEHealth survey for england

NEETNot in education employment or training

NS-SECNational statistics socio-economic classification

OROdds ratio

SHeSScottish health survey


Autor: Catherine H. Stewart - Philip Berry - Dunja Przulj - Charlene Treanor


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