Health-focused course content is associated with altered health behaviours in undergraduate university students

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Abstract

Objective: To examine whether the completion of a course of study relating to preventive health and lifestyle risk factors was associated with alterations in health behaviours. Design: Within-group intervention, repeated-measures design. Setting: Health behaviours of university students studying a course focused on health and well-being. Method: Undergraduate university students (n = 56) completed a questionnaire assessing health behaviours at the start and end of a course which was oriented towards a healthy lifestyle, concentrating on preventive health and lifestyle risk factors. Beliefs about the importance of various health behaviours addressed within the course content were also assessed. Results: Physical activity was unaltered across the duration of the course, while a number of dietary behaviours were improved, including an increase in the weekly frequency of eating breakfast, reduced frequency of adding salt to meals, increased frequency of choosing reduced fat dairy options, reduced frequency of consuming drinks with added sugar, and consuming alcohol (p ≤.05). Conclusion: Health-focused course content may benefit students through the knowledge gained that can be applied in future professional settings and also via positive alterations in their own health behaviours. These positive influences on health behaviour in early adulthood may have implications for lifelong health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-605
JournalHealth Education Journal
Volume77
Issue number5
Early online date22 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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