Factors That Influence Campus Dwelling University Students’ Facility to Practice Healthy Living Guidelines

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Abstract

Background

Young adult university students living on campus are at an increased risk of developing lifestyle habits that encourage unintentional weight gain.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to identify the individual and contextual factors that influence campus dwelling university students’ facility to practice healthy living guidelines that reduce their risk of unintentional weight gain. Lifestyle practices included nutrition, physical activity, and sleep.

Methods

For seven days, 48 campus dwelling students recorded their activities and reflected on how closely they were able to follow recommended healthy living guidelines. Recorded data were supplemented by follow-up focus groups. All data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results

Students described multiple factors and conditions that influenced their facility to practice healthy living guidelines for nutrition, activity, and sleep. Many students’ lifestyle practices put them at an increased risk of unintentional weight gain.

Conclusions

The campus environment challenges student’s facility to practice healthy living guidelines. Nurses can intervene to build individual student capacity and to advocate for environmental polices that increase students’ facility to choose lifestyle practices that promote health, lessen their risk of unintentional weight gain, and reduce their risk of developing chronic illness.

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