International hygiene study: scores for personal and household hygiene in 12 countries presented

In the wake of Global Handwashing Day, the Hygiene Council has released more findings from its international HABIT Study (Hygiene: Attitudes, Behavior, Insight and Traits). Below are charts comparing handwashing and household hygiene scores for 12 countries.

Percentage of respondents who wash hands 5+ times daily

Percentage with High Household Hygiene Score

The research study sought to characterize the key determinants of personal and household hygiene behaviours that affect health cross-culturally; to pinpoint the key factors in different personalities and settings that determine hygiene behaviour, and highlight those that can be modified to improve health. The study was conducted from January to March 2011 by the Hygiene Council, an initiative sponsored by household, health and personal care producer Reckitt Benckiser.

Key results

Some 54 per cent of people surveyed globally reported good personal hygiene. Some of the findings that influenced hygiene scores were:

  • Conscientious or nervous personality types reported experiencing 10 percent fewer colds than others.
  • Those with good manners, such as covering their mouths when sneezing, were almost two-and-a-half times more likely to have good health.
  • Hygiene habits varied by profession, with homemakers reporting the highest level of personal hygiene (64.5 percent) and students reporting the worst (44.5 percent).

For more findings see also UAE: Students learn good health goes hand in hand with hygiene (Sanitation Updates, 19 July 2011)

Study methodology

The questionnaire-based study, with 1,000 participants in each of 12 countries (12,000 total participants) involved 130 questions on hand-washing, surface cleaning and food preparation, handling and storage techniques, health problems and demographics. The countries involved were the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Australia, Brazil, China and India. Web-based questionnaire were complemented by telephone calls and face-to-face interviews were conducted in some markets (South Africa, Middle East, Malaysia, Brazil, China, and India). Standard multivariate statistical analyses were performed on the resulting datasets to determine how personality variation, hygiene practices, socio-economic factors and infectious disease outcomes inter-relate.

Related web sites:

Source: Hygiene Council, 14 Oct 2011 ; PRNewswire, 14 Oct 2011

5 responses to “International hygiene study: scores for personal and household hygiene in 12 countries presented

  1. Nripendra Kumar Sarma, Guwahati, Assam (India )

    Can we see the questionaire? Whether the questionaire was country / region specific or same for all countries? What was basis for selecting the respondents? What was the socio-economic condition of the respondents?

    • You will need to contact the Hygiene Council directly as no full report has been made publically available,

      Cor Dietvorst, Programme Officer, Global Team
      Information Specialist and Editor E-Source
      IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
      PO Box 82327
      2508 EH The Hague
      The Netherlands

    • Neither the Hygiene Council nor Reckitt Benckiser have released the full report of the survey, you will need to contact them directly for more information.

  2. Nripendra Kumar Sarma, Guwahati, Assam (India )

    I tried to contact, but still it is yet to be answered. So, can I request you to take the initiative from your end to help me?

  3. Pingback: India rated low in personal and household hygiene « Transparent Chennai

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