Predictors of Self-Rated Health and Lifestyle Behaviours in Swedish University Students

  •  Manuela Schmidt    


Background: Lifestyle behaviours are usually formed during youth or young adulthood which makes college students a particularly vulnerable group that easily can adopt unhealthy lifestyle behaviour. Aim: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to explore the influence of socio-demographic factors on Swedish university students’ lifestyle behaviours and self-rated health. Method: Data were collected from a convenience sample of 152 students using questionnaires consisting of a socio-demographic section followed by previously well-validated instruments. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics: t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and regression tests. Findings: The results of this study show that the lifestyle behaviours under study (physical activity, perceived stress and eating behaviours) as well as self-rated health can be predicted to a certain extent by socio-demographic factors such as gender, mother tongue and parents’ educational level. Male university students were shown to be physically more active than female students; the male students were less stressed and rated their overall health, fitness level and mental health higher. Female students were more prone to adopt unhealthy eating behaviours. Discussion: This study addresses gender differences and their influences on lifestyle behaviours; it provides both theoretical explanations for these differences as well as presents some practical implications of the findings.

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