An Exploration of Modifiable Health Associated Risk Factors Within a Cohort of Undergraduate Nursing Students
So-called diseases of affluence, otherwise known as 'lifestyle diseases', are attributed to modifiable risk factors that are influenced by lifestyle and personal behaviour. Leading by example is an important way for public health principles to be communicated. In the university context, students of nursing can become aware of the challenge to integrate and apply health principles in their own life so that they become responsible health leaders in the community.
The aim of this study was to explore the incidence of a number of behaviour-associated health risk factors within a group of undergraduate nursing students. Ninety-four students participated in the study. Seventy-seven students (82%) reported the presence of at least one modifiable health risk factor. Forty-four percent of respondents were either overweight or obese.
Further research to explore whether a health promoting curriculum encourages nursing students to internalise/apply health knowledge to their own lives is recommended. A campaign of public health might be useful within the university community to educate students about risk factors and healthy living.
Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Logan Campus, Meadowbrook QLD
Research Centre for Clinical and Community Practice Innovation, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast QLD
Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Nathan Campus, Nathan QLD
Adriaanse H, Reek J V, Sandbelt L and Evers G (1991) Nurses smoking worldwide: A review of 73 surveys on nurses' tobacco consumption in 21 countries in the period 1959-1988, International Journal of Nursing Studies 28: 361-375.
Ashton W, Nanchahal K and Wood D (2001) Body mass index and metabolic risk factors for coronary heart disease in women, European Heart Journal 22: 46-55.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2004a) The relationship between overweight, obesity and cardiovascular disease, (AIHW Catalogue No CVD 29) Canberra: AIHW (Cardiovascular Disease Series No 23).
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2004b) Heart, stroke and vascular diseases: Australian facts 2004, (AIHW Catalogue No CVD 27). Canberra: AIHW (Cardiovascular Disease Series No 22).
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2003a) Statistics on drug use in Australia 2002, (AIHW Catalogue No PHE 43) Canberra: AIHW (Drug Statistics Series No 12).
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2003b) Over 3 million Australians in battle of bulge. Available at www.aihw.gov.au/mediacentre/2003/mr20030912.cfm [accessed 25 June 2005]
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2002) Diabetes: Australian Facts 2002, (AIHW Catalogue No CVD 20). Canberra: AIHW (Diabetes Series No 3).
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2000) Physical activity patterns of Australian adults. Results of the 1999 national physical activity survey, Canberra: AIHW (AIHW Catalogue No. CVD 10).
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (1998) National Drug Strategy Household Survey: Detailed Findings, (AIHW Catalogue No PHE 27) Canberra: AIHW (Drug Statistics Series No 6).
Better Health Commission (1986) Looking forward to better health: Final report vol 1, Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
Borchardt G L (2000) Role models for health promotion: The challenge for nurses, Nursing Forum 35(3): 29-32.
Cancer Council Australia (2005) Nutrition and physical activity. Available at www.cancer.org.au [accessed 16 October 2005].
Faugier J, Lancaster J, Pickles D and Dobson K (2001) Barriers to healthy eating in the nursing profession: Part 1, Nursing Standard 15(36): 33-36.
Flood V, Webb K, Lazarus R and Pang G (2000) Use of self-report to monitor overweight and obesity populations: Some issues for consideration, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 24: 96-99.
Fuchs VR (1999) Who Shall Live?: Health, Economics and Social Choice (exp. edn) pp.9-29, River Ridge, NJ: World Scientific.
Godin G and Shephard RJ (1985) A simple method to assess exercise behavior in the community, Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences 10: 141- 146.
Godin G and Shephard RJ (1997) A Collection of Physical Activity Questionnaires for Health-Related Research, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 29(6): Supplement 36-38.
Kriska AM and Caspersen CJ (eds) (1997) Introduction to a collection of physical activity questionnaires for health-related research, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 29: 55-59.
Liu S and Manson JE (2001) What is the optimal weight for cardiovascular health: Debate about the cut offs for overweight and obesity should not obscure need for population strategy, British Medical Journal 322: 631-632.
McGinnis JM and Foege WH (1993) Actual causes of death in the United States, Journal of American Medical Association 270: 2207-2212.
Najman J and Western J (eds) (2000) A Sociology of Australian Society 3rd edn, Melbourne: Macmillan.
National Heart Foundation of Australia (2004) Healthy lifestyle: your heart. Available at www.heartfoundation.com.au [accessed 25 June 2005].
Norton L (1998) Health promotion and health education: what role should the nurse adopt in practice? Journal of Advanced Nursing 28(6): 1269-1275.
Pate R, Pratt M , Blair S, Haskell W, Macera C, Bouchard C, Buchner D, Ettinger W, Heath G and King A (1995) Physical activity and public health: A recommendation from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine, Journal of American Medical Association 273(5): 402-407.
Perry IJ, Wannamethee SG, Walker MK, Thomson AG, Whincup PH and Shaper AG (1995) Prospective study of risk factors for development of non-insulin dependent diabetes in middle aged British men, British Medical Journal 310: 560-564.
Piazza J, Conrad K and Wilbur J (2001) Exercise behaviour among female occupational health nurses: Influence of self efficacy, perceived health control, and age, AAOHN Journal 49(2):79-86.
Queensland Government Office of Economic and Statistical Research (2005) Local government area profile. The Logan C Region, Brisbane: Queensland Printing.
Queensland Health (2005) Tobacco Laws. Available at www.health.qld.gov.au/atods/tobaccolaws/eating/indoors.asp [accessed 16 October 2005].
Rattray R, Brunner W and Freestone J (1996) The new spectrum of prevention: A model for new public health. Contra Costa Health Services. Available at www.cchealth.org/topics/publications/pdf/new_spectrum_of_prevention.pdf [accessed 25 June 2005].
Rowe K and Macleod Clarke J (2000) The incidence of smoking amongst nurses: A review of the literature, Journal of Advanced Nursing 31: 1046-1053.
Sheahan SL (2000) Documentation of health risk and health promotion counselling by emergency department nurse practitioners and physicians, Journal of Nursing Scholarship 32(3): 245-250.
Underwood PW (1998) Breast cancer awareness begins with you, American Journal of Nursing 98(10): 80.
Wells-Federman CL (1996) Awakening the nurse healer within, Holistic Nursing Practice 10(2): 13-39.
WHO (1986) Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. First International Conference for Health Promotion, November 17-21 1986, Ottawa: Canada.
Yusuf HR, Giles WH, Croft JB, Anda RF and Casper ML (1998) Impact of multiple risk factor profiles on determinants of cardiovascular disease risks, Preventative Medicine 27: 1-9.
risk factors, obesity, body mass index, health behaviours, lifestyle diseases