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Home > Behavioral health risk profiles of undergraduate university students in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland: a cluster analysis.

El Ansari, Walid and Ssewanyana, Derrick and Stock, Christiane (2018) Behavioral health risk profiles of undergraduate university students in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland: a cluster analysis. Frontiers in Public Health , 6 , (120) . https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00120.

URL: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh...

Background: Limited research has explored clustering of lifestyle behavioral risk factors (BRFs) among university students. This study aimed to explore clustering of BRFs, composition of clusters, and the association of the clusters with self-rated health and perceived academic performance.

Method: We assessed (BRFs), namely tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, unhealthy nutrition, and inadequate sleep, using a self-administered general Student Health Survey among 3,706 undergraduates at seven UK universities.

Results: A two-step cluster analysis generated: Cluster 1 (the high physically active and health conscious) with very high health awareness/consciousness, good nutrition, and physical activity (PA), and relatively low alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use. Cluster 2 (the abstinent) had very low ATOD use, high health awareness, good nutrition, and medium high PA. Cluster 3 (the moderately health conscious) included the highest regard for healthy eating, second highest fruit/vegetable consumption, and moderately high ATOD use. Cluster 4 (the risk taking) showed the highest ATOD use, were the least health conscious, least fruit consuming, and attached the least importance on eating healthy. Compared to the healthy cluster (Cluster 1), students in other clusters had lower self-rated health, and particularly, students in the risk taking cluster (Cluster 4) reported lower academic performance. These associations were stronger for men than for women. Of the four clusters, Cluster 4 had the youngest students.

Conclusion: Our results suggested that prevention among university students should address multiple BRFs simultaneously, with particular focus on the younger students.


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