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A Life Course Approach to Women's Health$
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Diana Kuh and Rebecca Hardy

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780192632890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632890.001.0001

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A life course perspective on women’s health behaviours

A life course perspective on women’s health behaviours

(p.279) Chapter 13 A life course perspective on women’s health behaviours
A Life Course Approach to Women's Health

Mary Schooling

Diana Kuh

Oxford University Press

Adult behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, and exercise are sources of risk for many chronic diseases and the need to change unhealthy behaviours remains a key aspect of health promotion policies. The difficulty of changing adult behaviours has led to a growing interest in the origins and development of individual behaviours and healthy lifestyles. An interdisciplinary life course perspective seeks to integrate into a broad developmental framework alternative approaches to the study of health behaviour which currently focus either on individual characteristics or on the social context. This chapter reviews evidence for the long-term effects of the childhood social environment on adult behaviour and for role modelling and behavioural tracking, pathways through which behaviours are conventionally thought to be initiated and maintained into adult life.

Keywords:   health behaviour, women' health, life course framework, adult behaviours, behavioural tracking

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