The Most Opportune Times to Launch Population-Based Health Promotion Programs in Taiwan

By Tung-Sung Tseng, Hui-Yi Lin, Joann Lee, Carolyn C. Johnson, John J. Lefante and Ted Chen.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Chronic diseases have become leading causes of death among the general global population. Smoking and lack of physical activity are among two major risk factors that contribute to disease morbidity and mortality. Numerous health promotion programs have been designed to encourage increased exercise and smoking cessation. Objectives: This study was developed to identify 1) when is the most “opportune time” to implement a population-based health promotion program for maximum effectiveness, and 2) what health promotion strategies should be considered at these “opportune times”? Methods: Data used are derived from the Taiwan National Health Risk Behavior Survey of 2002. A total of 26,755 subjects interviewed in a national sampling survey were used in the study. All study respondents were over the age of 15 years. The survey resulted in a response rate of 81.92%. Results: The smoking rate within the Taiwan population reached its peak among the age group of 30-34. After the age group of 30-34, the smoking rate among Taiwanese males began to decrease. The trend in physical activity also displayed a similar change pattern, although in a reversed order. Moreover, there was a clear gender difference in the change of physical activity behavior. Young females increased their physical activity beginning at the ages of 25-29, and males at the ages of 30-34. Conclusions: The relationship between these two risk factors within the Taiwanese population suggests that increases in smoking and decreases in physical activity develop at critical stages in life. This suggests that the most effective interventions for smoking cessation and the promotion of physical activity should be designed and targeted towards the age and gender groups at these stages. Planning and implementing population-based health promotion programs should 1) focus on health education for prevention before the ages of 30-34 for males, 25-29 for females, and 2) treat smoking and physical activity together in family-oriented campaigns for health promotion.

Keywords: Smoking, Physical Activity, Population-based, Health Promotion

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.191-204. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 813.924KB).

Tung-Sung Tseng

Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA

Dr. Tung-Sung Tseng is an Assistant Professor in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. He received his Dr. PH in Community Health Sciences in 2005 from Tulane University and was selected as a postdoctoral fellow for the Morehouse School of Medicine/Tuskegee University/UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Partnership-Research Training Program, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Tseng is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). He recently co-chairs the Ethics Committee of the Society for Public Health Education, and currently serves on the Special Projects Committee/Action Groups, Genomics Forum of American Public Health Association. Dr. Tseng has several publications on risk behaviors, tobacco control and cancer disparity and has presented at several national and international professional conferences. His research interests include tobacco control, risk behaviors and behavioral patterns, community-based participatory research, health promotion interventions and evaluations, health disparities, and cancer prevention among ethnic minorities and underserved populations.

Hui-Yi Lin

Assistant Member, Biostatistics Department, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA

Joann Lee

Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

Carolyn C. Johnson

Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA

John J. Lefante

Professor, Department of Biostatistics, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA

Prof. Ted Chen

Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA