Health promoting lifestyle of university students in Saudi Arabia: a cross-sectional assessment

Journal Article
Publication Abstract: 

Background

College is a critical time where students are more prone to engage in risky health behaviors known to negatively affect well-being, such as physical inactivity, stress, and poor dietary habits. A health promoting lifestyle is an important determinant of health status and is recognized as a major factor for the maintenance and improvement of health. This study was designed to assess the health-promoting lifestyle of students in health colleges and non-health colleges in Saudi Arabia.

Methods

A total of 1656 students participated in this descriptive cross-sectional study. Data gathering was conducted from November 2016 to February 2017 at King Saud University. Participating students completed a self-reported questionnaire that included questions regarding their demographic characteristics and their health-promoting behaviors.

Results

The majority of participants were females (70.4%), 20% of the participants were overweight and 11.3%, were obese. The analysis showed that there was a significant difference between health colleges and non-health colleges with regards to the factor of health responsibility. Students at both schools were found to have an inadequate level of adherence to recommendations regarding physical activity and healthy eating habits. The analysis also found that majority of the students in both colleges do not attend educational programs on health care. The model shows that gender, type of college, year in school, and family structure were significant predictors of the health lifestyle of students in Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion

The results of the current study indicate that university students are leading unhealthy lives, where the majority of them have unhealthy eating habits and poor physical activity level. Universities are ideal settings for implementing health promotion programs. Therefore, planning and implementing programs to motivate students to be more responsible for their own health, to engage more in physical activity, and to practice healthy eating habits and other forms of wellness are of paramount importance.

Keywords

  • Health promoting lifestyle
  • Students
  • Healthy behavior
  • Saudi Arabia