Lifestyle (lifestyles conducive to health):

Lifestyle is a way of living based on identifiable patterns of behaviour which are determined by the interplay between an individual’s personal characteristics, social interactions, and socioeconomic and environmental living conditions.

Reference: modified definition

These patterns of behaviour are continually interpreted and tested out in different social situations and are therefore not fixed, but subject to change. Individual lifestyles, characterized by identifiable patterns of behaviour, can have a profound effect on an individual’s health and on the health of others. If health is to be improved by enabling individuals to change their lifestyles, action must be directed not only at the individual but also at the social and living conditions which interact to produce and maintain these patterns of behaviour.

It is important to recognize, however, that there is no “optimal” lifestyle to be prescribed for all people. Culture, income, family structure, age, physical ability, home and work environment will make certain ways and conditions of living more attractive, feasible and appropriate.

Source: Health Promotion Glossary (1998), WHO/HPR/HEP/98.1