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CHANGES IN HEALTH KNOWLEDGE

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Health education can improve the health of the nation. Emphasis is on promoting health, maintaining good health and preventing health problems. A segment of society that tends to ignore their health is college students. They are a large group that makes up 31% of 18-24 year olds in the U.S. (Hingson, et al, 2001). This population is considered to be the leaders of tomorrow. However, they need the knowledge about health promotion and safety to lead healthy lives. It is interesting to look at the current health status of college students. A survey (University of Minnesota, 2007) of almost 10,000 college students determined that 38.5% were in the overweight, obese or extremely obese category. Twenty-five percent used tobacco in the previous 30 days and 70.5% of the respondents used alcohol in the same time period. Mental health was an issue with 27.1% of students having a diagnosis of mental health illness in their lives. In addition, 77.6% reported having been sexually active in their lifetime and 72% were sexually active in the previous 12 months. Another study conducted by Vaez, et.al. (2004) compared health status and quality of life assessments of first-year university students with their same-age counterparts who were employed full-time. Both measures were self reported by subjects. Researchers reported that the university students' average reported scores were lower in quality of life than their working peers. A higher proportion than expected of students rated their health as "average" or "low". For both groups the perceived quality of life was significantly correlated with self-rated health. The researchers noted the differences between the groups and suggested that universities should be aware of the need for effective intervention programs. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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