Prevalence of health risk behaviors and their associated factors among university students in Kyrgyzstan

SOURCE: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Pengpid, K.Peltzer, E.M.Mirrakhimov
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8113

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With the advancements in knowledge about health promotion, public health professionals have been seeking determinants of personal health behaviors. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of health risk behaviors and its associated factors in a sample of Kyrgyz university students. In a cross-sectional survey, health risk behaviors among a sample of randomly selected university students were assessed. The sample included 837 university students from health sciences undergraduate courses of the State Medical Academy in Kyrgyzstan. The students were 358 (42.8%) males and 479 (57.2%) females in the age range of 18-29 years (Median age = 21.3 years, SD = 1.5). Results: On average, students engaged in 9.4 (SD = 2.3) out of 23 health risk behavior practices. Generally, there was a high rate of insufficient fruit and vegetable intake (86.4%), eating red meat at least once a day (62%), usually adding salt to meals (78.3%), skipping breakfast (50.5%), current tobacco use (49.7%) and two or more sexual partners in the past 12 months (46.1%) among men, and never using a condom with a primary partner in the past 3 months (90.9%) among women. Furthermore, 60.8% of the women were physically inactive. In bivariate analysis among men, the lack of perceived benefits was associated with health risk behavior. In multivariate analysis among women, poorer family background, being Russian, high personal constraints or stress, and better subjective health were associated with the health risk behavior index. Students had a high proportion of health risk behavior practices. Several high health risk practices were identified, including poor dietary behavior, physical inactivity, sexual risk behavior, and tobacco use. Gender specific predictors identified included sociodemographic characteristics and social and health variables, which can be utilized in health promotion programs.