Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Health and Well-Being of Students at Higher Education Institutions - Time for Urgent Action?

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Health and Well-Being of Students at Higher Education Institutions - Time for Urgent Action?

Article excerpt

Welcome to this special themed edition of the Central European Journal of Public Health. The seven articles published in this issue, dedicated to the health and well-being of higher education institutions students, present research pertaining to students from several high, low and middle-income countries across several continents. Taken together, CEJPH hopes that these studies bestow a rich and multi-perspective offering on the subject. Indeed, geographically, these students are enrolled at universities, colleges, and higher technical institutions located in culturally and politically diverse nations such as Egypt, the United Kingdom, Palestine, the Netherlands, Libya, and South Africa. Academically and demographically, the presented research assessed male and female students at different study years, a range of faculties, and across many academic disciplines. Methodologically, the studies employed quantitative methods (using generous sample sizes) or qualitative methods (using strategic sampling). Conceptually, the presented studies collectively report a wide range of socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle features and other variables that influence and impact on students' health and well-being. These include body image, smoking and smoking-associated health risks, nutrition, climate change, physical activity (PA), psychosomatic symptoms and health complaints, ethical concerns, and mental health challenges such as stress and depressive symptoms. Unfortunately, the findings of these studies raise concerns, as they seem to converge into one direction: that it is time for serious action if educators, health authorities and policy practitioners are to focus their much needed attention in order to maintain and improve the health and well-being of higher education students. Many examples within this issue serve to illustrate this urgent need for action.

As for some of the factors that pertain directly to student health, in Egypt, high proportions of the 3,271 students that were sampled felt fatigue, difficulties to concentrate, headache, mood swings, nervousness/anxiety, and sleep disorder symptoms sometimes/very often in the last 12 months. In the Gaza Strip, Palestine, slightly more than half of the 1,104 participants reported ever smoking, students' knowledge of existing anti-smoking legislation in Palestine was low, and almost all students reported that there were no smoking cessation centres in Palestine, or did not know whether such centres existed. In the United Kingdom, across 3,706 students from Northern Ireland, England and Wales, consuming 'unhealthy' foods (e.g. sweets, cookies, snacks, fast food) was significantly and positively associated with perceived stress (females only) and depressive symptoms (both genders), suggesting that interventions aimed at reducing depressive symptoms and stress among students could also result in the consumption of healthier foods and/or vice versa. In Libya, of the 1,300 students surveyed, about 44% achieved the international guidelines/recommendations for muscle strengthening PA, while only 11% achieved the international guidelines for vigorous PA, 29% for moderate to vigorous PA, 21% for walking, 4.8% for moderate PA (excluding walking), and female students were particularly at risk for low PA. As for body image concerns (BIC), again in the United Kingdom, more females (35%) than males (8%) had moderate/marked concerns with their body image, and among females, there was a co-occurrence of depressive symptoms and BIC, suggesting that more attention is required to the gender-specific correlates of BIC for tailoring evidence based interventions for females and for males. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.