Health authorities to invest €3 million in study on people's lifestyle choices

The research will help determine how people's lifestyle impacts their health

This study is aimed mostly at helping vulnerable groups, Dr Charmaine Gauci said
This study is aimed mostly at helping vulnerable groups, Dr Charmaine Gauci said

Up to 5,000 citizens will be asked to participate in a survey that will seek to determine how people’s lifestyle affects their health, Health minister Chris Fearne said this morning.

The survey—part of an EU-funded project—will examine, among other points, the extent to which people who have a low socio-economic status are aware of the link between one’s lifestyle and their health.

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said that face-to-face interviews were being conducted and that random study letters were being sent to representatives from each age group.

The questionnaire relates mostly to socio-economic demographic characteristics and household composition and ultimately aims to study the population health status. It also aims to improve health literacy and to disseminate information about available health services across the country, she said.

Gauci pointed out that Malta's diet and obesity problem meant that the subject would be prioritised by the study. Similarly, she said priority would also be given to mental health. 

“The study asks whether there are any barriers to health services and whether there is equal access to all,” she said.

Aspects of addiction, sexual orientation, and gambling—which is another major issue—will be considered as well, Gauci said.

“This study is aimed mostly at helping vulnerable groups. This targeted politics aims to fill gaps revealed by an evidence-based strategy.”

Gauci thanked Ernst & Young who will be visiting private homes during this time.

The project will be carried out over 3 years with the help of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Malta Council for Economic Development, and other entities. They are meeting regularly to improve the quality of life, Gauci said.

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