Health status of hostel dwellers: Part VI. Tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and diet
Smoking, alcohol consumption and diet were among the criteria selected to screen health status among the residents of the urban migrant council-built hostels of Langa, Nyanga and. Guguletu outside Cape Town. Smoking patterns fell within the range found elsewhere. Problems associated with alcohol consumption were exacerbated by the overcrowded hostel living conditions. Dietary patterns were not examined against the concept of an 'ideal diet'. They are understood in the context of the poverty of the hostel dwellers and in the context of limited space available in the hostel environment for cooking and storage. In comparison with a home-based migrant population, the urban migrant hostel dwellers eat more frequently, more regularly and have more variety in their diet. In the light of the findings on the lifestyle indicators of the hostel dwellers, it is concluded that improved living conditions, rather than health education that focuses on individual behaviour, will have a greater impact on improvements in their health status.