Zsuzsanna Lampl: Health-damaging and Health-protective Practices of the Hungarian and Slovak Youth in Southern Slovakia

The history of humankind can be understood as the process of gaining victory over disease. Unfortunately, we can consider only relative victory, since parallel with the development of society newer diseases, “patterns of diseases” appeared. While in developing countries still the former patterns of diseases are ruling, in all developed societies the civilization diseases are rapidly spreading. This process is characteristic for Eastern European countries, that is for Slovakia, too.

The study examines the behavior factors, more concretely smoking, alcohol and drug consumption, and physical exercise. The target group of the examination was the Hungarian and Slovak youth between 15 and 29 years of age on the territory of Slovakia lived by Hungarians, who were addressed during the international youth research titled Mozaik 2001. The sample consisted of 1000 Hungarian nationality and 500 Slovak nationality young people.
Except for characterizing smoking, alcohol and drug consumption, and sporting practices of the target group the author was curious whether any significant differences can be proven between the behavior of men and women, and/or Hungarians and Slovaks. The results showed that health-damaging behavior of men is more characterized for men than for women. Men smoke, consume alcohol and drugs more than women – although, they are also more engaged in sports. These results agree with statistics characterized also for the country and for the Southern Slovak region that stress the worse health condition and higher mortality caused by civilization diseases of men. At the same time, the results also show the behavior factors that mainly result the development of civilization diseases, and that smoking and alcohol consumption of Hungarians, and mainly Hungarian men practice a more health-damaging behavior than Slovaks. It can be presumed that mortality over average caused by malignant tumors experienced in territories lived by Hungarians in the last period can become a nationality-specific phenomenon in the future (although, it is possible that it is now). Stronger emphasis should be set on primary prevention of Hungarians living in Slovakia.