n South African Journal of Higher Education - The influence of student accommodation on NMMU students' dietary patterns, activity and alcohol consumption




Leaving home to study at a higher education institution (HEI) together with changes in their living arrangements may contribute to unhealthy lifestyles in higher education students. the objectives of this study were to describe eating patterns, physical activity and alcohol use among students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in the context of student accommodation. A convenience sample of 619 students participated in a cross-sectional electronic self-administered survey after providing informed consent. Of the 257 students who regularly skipped meals, significantly more were residing in hostels than in other accommodation. Hostel students also reported a significantly lower consumption of fruit, vegetables and dairy products, with 25 per cent indicating insufficient funds as the reason. An inactive lifestyle was reported by 49 per cent of the participants. As long-term health can be affected by lifestyle choices, these findings can be used in intervention strategies to improve behaviour. The researchers recommend that an investigation be undertaken into the social problems that may contribute to health risk behaviour, especially in hostel students.


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