Determinants of health-related lifestyles among university students

Aceijas, Carmen ORCID logoORCID:, Waldhäusl, Sabrina, Lambert, Nicky ORCID logoORCID:, Cassar, Simon and Bello-Corassa, Rafael (2017) Determinants of health-related lifestyles among university students. Perspectives in Public Health, 137 (4) . pp. 227-236. ISSN 1757-9139 [Article] (doi:10.1177/1757913916666875)

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AIMS: To investigate students’ health-related lifestyles and to identify barriers and social determinants of healthier lifestyles.
METHODS: An online survey, two focus groups, and three in-depth interviews across 2014/15. A stratified by School size and random sample [n=468] of university students answered a 67-item questionnaire comprising six scales: RAPA, REAP-S, CAGE, FTND, SWEMWBS and ad hoc scale for drug use/misuse. Stratified by gender X2 tests were run to test associations/estimate risks and three multivariate Logistic Regression models were adjusted. A thematic approach guided the analysis of qualitative data.
RESULTS: 60% of the respondents were insufficiently physically active, 47% had an unbalanced diet and 30% had low mental wellbeing. Alcohol drinkers vs. abstinent were almost equally distributed. 42% of alcohol drinkers reported getting drunk at least once a month. Smokers accounted for 16% of the respondents. Identified risk factors for suboptimal physical activity were: Being a woman, not using the university gym and smoking. For unbalanced diet: low mental wellbeing and drugs use. Poor mental wellbeing was predicted by unbalanced diet, not feeling like shopping and cooking frequently, and a lack of help-seeking behaviour in case of distress. Qualitative analysis revealed seven thematic categories: transition to new life, university environment and systems, finances, academic pressure, health promotion in campus and recommendations.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides robust evidence that the health-related lifestyles of the student population are worrying and suggests that the trend in chronic diseases associated with unhealthy lifestyles sustained over years might be unlikely to change in future generations. University students’ health-related lifestyle is a concern. Nine out of the identified ten predictors of problematic physical activity, nutrition and mental wellbeing, were environmental/societal or institutional barriers. Universities must expand corporate responsibilities to include the promotion of health as part of their core values.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 20519
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Depositing User: Carmen Aceijas
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2016 09:34
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 20:47

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