Gender differences in health risk behaviour among university students: an international study

SOURCE: Gender and Behaviour
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2015
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Pengpid, K.Peltzer
KEYWORDS: GENDER EQUALITY, HEALTH, RISK BEHAVIOUR, UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
DEPARTMENT: Social Aspects of Public Health (SAPH)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8976

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine gender differences in health risk behaviours among university students in 26 mainly low and middle income countries. Using anonymous questionnaires, data were collected in a cross-sectional survey of 19831 undergraduate university students (mean age 20.8, SD=2. 8) from 27 universities in 26 countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas. Results indicate that overall male university students reported significantly more health risk behaviours (8.6) than female university students (7.3). Male students engaged more in addictive risk behaviours, injury risk behaviours, and oral health risk behaviours than female students, while physical inactivity was more frequent in female than male students. In terms of nutrition and sexual risk behaviour, the responses were mixed between the genders. Linear regression analysis found that there was a strong association with poor or weak health benefits beliefs and the health risk behaviour index, while there was no association between risk awareness and the health risk behaviour index. Public health, behavioural and preventive interventions are needed to reduce the gender disparity.