Vol. 4, Issue 9 (2018)
Differences in health promoting lifestyle profile among students of the University of Salerno according to gender and the age group of study
Author(s): Silvana Mirella Aliberti, Mario Capunzo, Emanuela Santoro, Giovanni Boccia
Abstract: Background:The health of female and male university students is an important public health problem in the short, medium and long term because they represent potential professionals of the future, and their lifestyles, their attitudes and their beliefs about health can have a decisive influence on the well-being of the entire population. Despite well documented benefits of health promoting behaviors, many studies have shown that university students exhibit behaviors of unhealthy lifestyle, especially inadequate alimentary behaviour and responsibility for health, which needs further research. The relationship between health indicators and life quality is significantly important in clinical decisions and health policy making and the life quality perspective is a strong stimulus for the individual's decisions and preferences. The aim of this study was to examine gender differences in health-promoting lifestyle among undergraduate students and to analyze changes between the first and second age groups of the study. Methods: A peer-reviewed and grey literature review of quality of life in undergraduate students was conducted through a narrative search of MEDLINE and on the website of the major European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. The search was restricted to papers published in English, German and Italian. Data collection was done through a six-section questionnaire. All data were analyzed with STATA (IC 15 64-bit 2017 version). Results: A total of 519 students formed the sample. Of this sample 182 as men (35.07%) and 315 as women (60.69%). The age ranged from a minimum of 18 years to a maximum of 35 years. Regarding perceived health by the students the results showed the best average for males of the age group A (77.36%). The statistical test denoted highly significant correlation between health perception and genders (P = 0.0002) and very significant correlation between the age cohort A and B (P = 0.005). HPLPII, PHQ-15, EAT-26 and EQ-5D total scores were calculated mean and median highlighted by a bar chart. Significant gender differences were found in the following subscales: psychosomatic disorders (p= 0.0001), alimentary behaviour (p= 0.0001), quality of life related to health (p= 0.0018). Significant differences between age groups A and B were observed in lifestyle (p= 0.005), alimentary behaviour (p= 0.04), quality of life related to health (p= 0.04). Conclusion: We hypothesized that there were a gender and age groups differences in health-promoting lifestyle among undergraduate students. Results from the present study support our hypothesis. The significant findings are that younger male students enjoy better health and quality of life than female students of the same cohort. They have a better view of their life, they look for new challenges and they are changing in a positive way. Data analysis shows that younger male students have a better self-perception of their health status than females of both age groups. In general, aspects of body image, eating behavior and perceived health competence, as well as academic characteristics, were significantly important in evaluating the quality of life in undergraduate students at the University of Salerno.