Exploring the prevalence and correlates of meeting health behaviour guidelines among university students

Tanya M.F. Scarapicchia, Catherine M. Sabiston, Guy Faulkner

Abstract


OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence of students meeting physical activity, diet and smoking health recommendations and to examine the correlates of meeting these guidelines.

METHODS: Randomly selected students at the University of Toronto (N = 2,812; female = 71.60%, mean age = 22.11 ± 5.24 years, mean body mass index = 22.80 kg/m2) completed the National College Health Assessment-II survey in spring of 2013.

RESULTS: Only 0.1% of the sample reported meeting physical activity, diet and non-smoking guidelines. Males were more likely than females to meet physical activity and both physical activity and fruit and vegetable guidelines (X2 [1, 2812] = 7.33, p < 0.05). Women were more likely than men to be nonsmokers (X2 [1, 2812] = 7.80, p < 0.05). Being overweight was associated with meeting physical activity guidelines. Being a healthy weight was associated with meeting both physical activity and fruit and vegetable guidelines (X2 [1, 2812] = 6.29, p < 0.05). Underweight participants were more likely to be nonsmokers (X2 [2, 2812] = 6.36, p < 0.05). In the logistic regression, being Caucasian and male and trying to change weight were correlated with meeting moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and strength training guidelines. Being older, Caucasian and trying to change weight were correlates of consuming greater than five fruits and vegetables per day. Beings Caucasian, female, and trying to change weight were correlates of being a non-smoker.

CONCLUSION: University health promotion programs should be targeted to specific age, ethnicity and weight status groups, as there are distinct differences among those not meeting physical activity, diet and non-smoking guidelines.


Keywords


Young adults; exercise; dietary guidelines; body mass index; sex

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.106.4784