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FSD1292 Health and Lifestyle Survey of University Students 1993-1998

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Authors

  • Kunttu, Kristina (Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS))

Keywords

alcohol use, dental health, diet and exercise, dietary habits, drug use, exercise (physical activity), food and nutrition, health, health status, interpersonal relations, life styles, mental health, physical activities, road safety, smoking, social life, students (college), undergraduates

Abstract

This follow-up study charted the health, health-related behaviour and social relationships of Turku University students. The target group consisted of students who first began their studies in the academic year 1993-1994. Data collection was carried out in their first, third and fifth study year, and the same questionnaires were used for each round (survey questionnaire and the standard health questionnaire of the Finnish Student Health Service).

Respondents' state of health was studied with questions about illnesses, disabilities or injuries diagnosed by a physician. Self-reported symptoms and health problems (e.g. insomnia, back pain, headaches, dizziness), and the use of non-prescription medicine, vitamins and herbal medicine were surveyed. One question asked how concerned respondents were about their own health. Respondents were asked about their eating habits (e.g. use of spreads, milk products, vegetables, pastry, fast food), special diets, dieting and appetite. One topic covered exercise and everyday physical activities, and perceived physical fitness. Further questions covered dental health and dental visits, alcohol consumption, use of illegal drugs, and smoking and attitudes towards smoking. Respondents were also asked whether they felt they should achieve a healthier diet, take more exercise or quit smoking etc. Use of contraceptives and the need for them were charted.

One theme pertained to road safety: the use of seat belts, cycle helmets and reflectors (which enable motorists to notice pedestrians) were examined. Social life and social relationships were charted by asking about respondents' participation in voluntary organizations, leisure time habits, social networks, time spent with friends, and availability of social support. Mental health section of the questionnaire covered the feelings of depression, strain and anxiety. Respondents were also asked whether they had any problems with the following: studies, contacts with other people, contacts with opposite sex, sexuality, relations with parents, future plans, own strength and abilities.

Background variables included sex, marital status, number of under-age children, year when graduated from high school (Finnish matriculation examination certificate), municipality of origin, municipality of residence, tenure, faculty and mother tongue.

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