Health Risk Behaviors
A number of behaviors, such as cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse can have negative long-term consequences for an individual’s health. In 2007, 16.2 percent of adults in the U.S. border region were current cigarette smokers (smoked some days or every day). This was slightly lower than in the U.S. population overall (19.8 percent; data not shown).
Rates of cigarette smoking in the U.S. border region varied by sex; men were significantly more likely than women to be cigarette smokers (20.7 versus 11.9 percent, respectively). Among women in the border region, cigarette smoking varied by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic White women were most likely to be current cigarette smokers (15.5 percent), compared to 9.0 percent of Hispanic women and 9.7 percent of non-Hispanic women of other races.
Men aged 21 and older in the U.S. border region were also more likely than women to have consumed alcohol in the past month (64.1 versus 44.9 percent, respectively). Among men and women aged 21 and older, past-month alcohol consumption increased as level of education increased. Among women in the U.S. border region, those with a college or technical school degree were most likely to have consumed alcohol in the past month (59.2 percent), compared to 36.8 percent of high school graduates, and 16.9 percent of those who did not graduate from high school.
While behaviors such as these can contribute to negative health outcomes, other behaviors, such as regular leisure-time physical activity, can help reduce health risks. In 2007, 25.0 percent of adults in the U.S. border region reported that they did not engage in any leisure-time physical activity in the previous 30 days. Overall, women were more likely than men to have reported being physically inactive (28.0 versus 21.8 percent, respectively). Among women, those with higher levels of education were more likely to have engaged in physical activity in the past month. Nearly 50 percent of women without a high school diploma did not engage in any leisure-time physical activity, compared to 30.2 percent of women who attended college or technical school, and 14.1 percent of women with a college or technical school diploma (data not shown).