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J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2016 Apr;28(4):204-11. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12350. Epub 2016 Mar 16.

Physical health, lifestyle beliefs and behaviors, and mental health of entering graduate health professional students: Evidence to support screening and early intervention.

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1
College of Nursing, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Little is known about the physical health, lifestyle beliefs and behaviors, and mental health among first-year health professional graduate students. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe these attributes as well as to explore the relationships among them.

METHODS:

A descriptive correlational study was conducted on the baseline data from a wellness onboarding intervention study with 93 health sciences students from seven different colleges within a large public land grant university in the Midwest United States.

FINDINGS:

Nearly 40% of the sample was overweight/obese, and 19% of students had elevated total cholesterol levels. Only 44% met the recommended 30 min of exercise 5 days per week. Forty-one percent reported elevated depressive symptoms and 28% had elevated anxiety. Four students reported suicidal ideation. Inverse relationships existed among depression/anxiety and healthy lifestyle beliefs/behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Students entering health professional schools are at high risk for depression, anxiety, and unhealthy behaviors, which could be averted through screening and early evidence-based interventions.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

Assessing the physical health, lifestyle behaviors, and mental health of first-year health sciences professional students is important to identify health problems and modifiable at-risk behaviors so that early interventions can be implemented to improve outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

Body mass index (BMI); college students; mental health; nutrition; physical activity; stress and coping

PMID:
26990269
DOI:
10.1002/2327-6924.12350
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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