The Health Status and Lifestyle Behaviours of Higher Education Students in Libya.

Khalil, Khalid (2011) The Health Status and Lifestyle Behaviours of Higher Education Students in Libya. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Aims. This research investigated the health status (e. g. weight perception and BMI, mental health conditions and general health complaints), and the lifestyle behaviours (e. g. smoking, alcohol consumption, and dietary behaviour) of Libyan higher education students (HES). The objectives were to compare their health status and lifestyle behaviours in the different regions of Libya; and to compare Libyan HES with those from other countries. In addition to this, the study aimed to determine if any association existed between demographic and academic variables and health and lifestyle variables. Purpose. The purpose of the study was to provide baseline data required by university health programmes in Libya for planning related to the health needs of students. Methods. The sample consisted of 1300 higher education students from different higher education institutes and different disciplines. The self-administered health questionnaire used included questions on health and health-related behaviours and their associated social and economic factors. It was conducted during lecture time. Data were analysed with SPSS. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to identify sociodemographic variables associated with health and lifestyle variables. Results. In this sample of students, the prevalence of overweight was higher than the prevalence of underweight and obesity (14.5%, 18.2%, and 4.2% respectively), and 40% of students were trying to lose weight. High rates (45%) of depressive symptoms were found, however; overall 8.8% of respondents reported being diagnosed with anxiety, and 4.3% with depression. The findings of this study also indicated that students reported high levels of subjective health complaints. The majority of students reported that their physical activity levels were insufficient; only 5% of students met the international recommended levels of physical activity. Only one in ten students was found to be consuming an adequate amount of fruit and vegetables (at least five times a day). About 6% of the students self-identified themselves as current smokers, and the results revealed that smoking was a male phenomenon in Libya. Alcohol consumption is not very common among Libyan students, and only 3.5% reported drinking alcohol; overall, 1.6% reported using drugs, and all students who reported using drugs reported cannabis use. A gender difference was noticeable and consistent across types of complaints; depressive symptoms, dietary behaviour, physical activity, smoking and alcohol and drug consumption. Females reported significantly worse health status than males in terms of health complaints, and depressive symptoms. Males reported higher levels of physical activity and higher levels of smoking and alcohol and drug consumption than females. Students in North Libya showed the highest levels of physical activity, and also the highest levels of smoking, alcohol and drug consumption, whereas students in East Libya had the highest levels of fruit and vegetable consumption. Logistic regression analysis revealed substantial associations between females and depressive symptoms, dietary behaviour and higher levels of complaints, and also between social support and anxiety and depression. The comparisons with other survey data showed that the Libyan rates of overweight and obesity were similar to rates reported amongst students at Alexandria University in Egypt, and much higher than those reported in other countries such as Poland, Japan and Korea. Depressive symptom rates were similar to the rates reported among university students in Bulgaria and higher than those reported in Germany, Denmark and Poland with respect to male students, and Libyan HES reported lower rates of health complaints than students in certain other European countries. In addition, the levels of fruit and vegetable consumption amongst Libyan HES were lower than those reported amongst Australian students. The prevalence of physical activity levels was lower than that reported amongst university students in the United Arab Emirates. The results of this study clearly indicate that the prevalence of smoking and alcohol and drug consumption among students in Libya was " lower than among those from other Arabic countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Conclusion. Efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle among students are needed and should place greater emphasis on physical activity and increased fruit and vegetable consumption, and on discouraging smoking and body dissatisfaction. There is a need for future research on student health, which should be carried out with a larger sample group to develop a national standardized instrument. Future research will be helpful for accurately identifying perceived barriers to, and recommending changes to enhance, physical activity among HES.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public health; Health behaviour, Libya; Student health, Libya
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA407 Health status indicators.
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine > RA773 Personal health and hygiene including clothing, bathing, exercise, travel, nutrition, sleep, sex hygiene
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Health and Social Care
Depositing User: Phil Davis
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 11:27
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 15:53

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