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How Healthy Are Health-Related Behaviors in University Students: The HOLISTic Study

Laboratory of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition, Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Service, Unit of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, ICS Maugeri IRCCS, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Department of Economics, University of Foggia, 71121 Foggia, Italy
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Beirut Arab University, P.O. Box 11-5020 Riad El Solh, Beirut 11072809, Lebanon
Institute of Psychology, University of Wroclaw, 50-527 Wroclaw, Poland
Department of Animal Production and Food Safety, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj Napoca, 400372 Cluj Napoca, Romania
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, 41013 Seville, Spain
Department of Public Health, University of Split School of Medicine, 21000 Split, Croatia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Shanon L. Casperson
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 675;
Received: 22 December 2020 / Revised: 10 February 2021 / Accepted: 17 February 2021 / Published: 19 February 2021
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the health-related behaviors among university students, with emphasis on health sciences students from Croatia, Italy, Lebanon, Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey. We included 6222 students in Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Sciences, Veterinary, and Economics enrolled between April 2018 and March 2020. We assessed dietary patterns, sleeping habits, physical activity and perceived stress among students by means of validated questionnaires. The median age ranged between 19 and 24 years, smoking prevalence between 12.0% and 35.4%, and body mass index (BMI) ranged between 21.1 and 23.2 kg/m2. Breakfast was less often and more often consumed daily in Turkey (36.7%), and Italy (75.7%), respectively. The highest Mediterranean diet score was recorded in Spain and Italy, and the lowest in Turkey, followed by students from Croatia, Lebanon, Poland and Romania. Sleep duration, physical activity and stress perception also differed between countries. Multivariable regression analysis revealed a small, but positive association between BMI and several characteristics, including age, female gender, smoking, physical activity, mobile phone use, and perceived stress. A negative association was found between BMI and sleep duration on non-working days. Self-rated health perception was positively associated with female gender, breakfast, physical activity, and time spent studying, and negatively with BMI, smoking and stress. Our results demonstrated diverse habits in students from different countries, some of which were less healthy than anticipated, given their educational background. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on improving the lifestyle of these adolescents and young adults, who will be tomorrow’s healthcare workers. View Full-Text
Keywords: university students; lifestyle habits; lifestyle medicine; health; public health; prevention; NCDs university students; lifestyle habits; lifestyle medicine; health; public health; prevention; NCDs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cena, H.; Porri, D.; De Giuseppe, R.; Kalmpourtzidou, A.; Salvatore, F.P.; El Ghoch, M.; Itani, L.; Kreidieh, D.; Brytek-Matera, A.; Pocol, C.B.; Arteta Arteta, D.S.; Utan, G.; Kolčić, I. How Healthy Are Health-Related Behaviors in University Students: The HOLISTic Study. Nutrients 2021, 13, 675.

AMA Style

Cena H, Porri D, De Giuseppe R, Kalmpourtzidou A, Salvatore FP, El Ghoch M, Itani L, Kreidieh D, Brytek-Matera A, Pocol CB, Arteta Arteta DS, Utan G, Kolčić I. How Healthy Are Health-Related Behaviors in University Students: The HOLISTic Study. Nutrients. 2021; 13(2):675.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cena, Hellas, Debora Porri, Rachele De Giuseppe, Aliki Kalmpourtzidou, Fiorella P. Salvatore, Marwan El Ghoch, Leila Itani, Dima Kreidieh, Anna Brytek-Matera, Cristina B. Pocol, Donaldo S. Arteta Arteta, Gözde Utan, and Ivana Kolčić. 2021. "How Healthy Are Health-Related Behaviors in University Students: The HOLISTic Study" Nutrients 13, no. 2: 675.

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