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Perceptions of Health Status and Lifestyle Health Behaviors of Poor People in Mauritius

Authors: Smita S. D. Goorah, Melisha Panchoo


In Mauritius, much emphasis is put on measures to combat the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Health promotion campaigns for the adoption of healthy behaviors and screening programs are done regularly by local authorities and NCD surveys are carried out at intervals. However, the health behaviors of the poor have not been investigated so far. This study aims to give an insight on the perceptions of health status and lifestyle health behaviors of poor people in Mauritius. A crosssectional study among 83 persons benefiting from social aid in a selected urban district was carried out. Results showed that 51.8% of respondents perceived that they had good health status. 57.8% had no known NCD whilst 25.3% had hypertension, followed by diabetes (16.9%), asthma (9.6%) and heart disease (7.2%).They had low smoking (10.8%) and alcohol consumption (6.0%) as well as high physical activity prevalence (54.2%). These results were significantly different from the NCD survey carried out in the general population. Consumption of vegetables in the study was high. Overweight and obesity trends were however similar to the NCD survey report 2009. These findings contrast with other international studies showing poor people having poor perceptions of health status and unhealthy behavioral choices. Whether these positive health behaviors of poor people in Mauritius arise out of choice or whether it is because the alternative behavior is too costly remains to be investigated further.

Keywords: Non-communicable diseases, Health Behavior, poor people

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