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The role of lifestyles in the commitment to the Unites Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3. An exploratory study

Micaela Pinho (Research on Economics, Management and Information Technologies (REMIT), Portucalense University, Porto, Portugal) (Instituto Jurídico Portucalense (IJP), Portucalense University, Porto, Portugal) (Research Unit in Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policy, GOVCOPP, Aveiro University, Aveiro, Portugal)

International Journal of Health Governance

ISSN: 2059-4631

Article publication date: 16 May 2023

Issue publication date: 10 October 2023




The World Health Organisation recognises that health and well-being are essential to achieve the United Nations Development Agenda 2030. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of ill-health worldwide. Much of the global burden of NCD is caused by individual unhealthy behaviours. A behavioural mindset shift is needed to reduce premature NCD mortality. This article provides an exploratory analysis to understand whether Portuguese society is on the path to achieving better health by considering certain unacceptable individual lifestyles that contribute to diseases and could be avoided.


An online questionnaire was used to collect data from 558 Portuguese citizens. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests were used to (1) assess whether respondents were aware of premature mortality caused by NCDs, (2) explore whether individuals should be accountable for their disease-related behaviours, and (3) test for associations between this accountability and respondents sociodemographic and health characteristics.


Overall, respondents were unaware of the rate of premature mortality associated with chronic diseases and were unwilling to hold fellow citizens accountable for their unhealthy lifestyles. Following a healthy lifestyle proved relevant in the moralisation of others' unhealthy lifestyles, especially those who practice physical exercise.


This study is the first attempt to awaken attention to the impact that societies' procrastination for others' harmful health behaviours may have on achieving Sustainable Development GoalS (SDGs) and sustainable development.



Pinho, M. (2023), "The role of lifestyles in the commitment to the Unites Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3. An exploratory study", International Journal of Health Governance, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 267-283.



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