Efficacy of a Health-Promotion Intervention for College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Diabetes is a leading cause of death in Mexico. Research has shown that encouraging healthy behaviors, especially among younger people, is an effective way to reduce chronic illnesses such as diabetes and the related morbidity and mortality from these diseases.

Objectives:

The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of a brief health-promotion intervention in encouraging a health-promoting lifestyle in university students.

Methods:

A 2-group randomized controlled experimental design was used. Seventy-three freshman Mexican students (31 in the experimental group and 42 in the control group) participated in the study. The experimental group attended a7-session program, with a duration of 2 hours per session. Lifestyle was measured using the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile–II questionnaire. Repeated-measures and factorial analysis of variance were computed.

Results:

There was a significant main effect of the intervention in all dependent health profile variables, F(2, 138) = 3.46–14.45, p < .03. In addition, we found a significant interaction between group and time for the overall health profile score, F(2, 138) = 8.73, p < .0001, physical activity, F(2, 138) = 4.68, p = .01, nutrition, F(2, 138) = 3.57, p = .03, health responsibility, F(2, 138) = 5.31, p = .006, and stress management, F(2, 138) = 8.71, p < .0001.

Discussion:

This interaction indicated that lifestyle differed in the intervention and control groups across the measurements at different times. Students attending the intervention presented a healthier lifestyle than did students in the control group. These results offer interesting experimental evidence to establish guidelines for the design of healthier universities.

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