: Health behaviors are associated with a healthy lifestyle, in which relative possibilities of choice play an important part. Athletes are a group of people who should particularly endeavor to have a health-oriented lifestyle. It is believed that combat sports (CS) and martial arts (MA) have an especially significant educational potential, connected with several desirable values which provide positive patterns of health behaviors. The aim of the work was to assess the intensity of health behaviors in athletes who practiced CS and MA in relation to the length of their training history, their age, sex, place of residence, education level, and financial situation. Methods
: The research involved 441 men and women who practiced boxing (B), Brazilian ju-jitsu (BJJ), karate (K), mixed martial arts (MMA) and Muay Thai (MT). The average age of the subjects was 24.68 ± 8.24 years. The standardized Health Behavior Inventory (HBI) questionnaire and another questionnaire for a lifestyle survey were applied. Individual behaviors covered four areas: Correct eating habits (CEH), preventive behaviors (PB), positive mental attitude (PMA), and health practices (HP). The one-way analysis of variance (F-test) for independent groups was used (ANOVA). The effect size was calculated with Hedge’s g for Student’s t-test, and with Cramér’s V for the χ2
test. The value of p
≤ 0.05 was assumed to be statistically significant. Results
: CS and MA athletes presented a moderate level of health behaviors. The greater intensity of health behaviors (HBI and its categories) was found among B, K and MMA athletes, and the smaller among those who practiced MT. Correct eating habits (CEH) were characteristic of subjects who practiced every day and whose length of training history was 4–8 years. Greater intensity of preventive behaviors (PB) was observed among individuals aged under-19 years, who still studied. Greater intensity of health practices (HP) was found among those who exercised every day. Influence of financial situation was observed in relations to PMA. Conclusions
: It seems that the existing educational potential of CS and MA was not fully realized in the studied population. Determining the place of health in the system of values of CS and MA athletes may be the basis for predicting health behaviors and developing health education programs.
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