03:45am Sunday 12 July 2020

Is university healthy?

UQ School of Human Movement Studies Research Fellow Dr Sjaan Gomersall said first-year university students were particularly vulnerable to changes in health and wellbeing.

“Commencing university is a significant life transition and for many students can involve moving out of home, adjusting to a new physical and social environment, and learning to balance study and work commitments,” she said. 

“These changes can impact on many health-related behaviours, social networks and general well-being.

“Changes in health behaviours can have a significant impact on health and wellbeing at this lifestage”. 

“Research from the US and UK suggests that first-year university students tend to decrease their physical activity, drink more alcohol, eat unhealthy foods and experience weight gain.

“While the US and the UK have some information, there are currently no Australian data that shows if there any changes in health and well-being during this significant life transition,” Dr Gomersall said.

High school leavers not attending university this year and first-year full-time UQ students are required for the study.

The health and well-being status of 300 first-year students will be followed for 12 months.

Results will be compared with a control group of 150 high school leavers who aren’t going to university this year.

Participants will be required to complete three assessment sessions at UQ’s St Lucia or Gatton campuses around March and September in 2014 and again in March 2015.

Participants will be reimbursed for their involvement in the study and will also have the chance to win one of three $200 Ticketek vouchers.

Participants must have finished high school in 2013 and be a first-year full-time student at UQ or have decided not to go to university this year.

Prospective participants can contact Dr Sjaan Gomersall on [email protected] or (07) 3365 3115.

Contact: UQ School of Human Movement Studies Marketing and Communications officer Caroline Day,  +61 7 3365 6764, or [email protected] or Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Senior Media and Communications Officer Kirsten O’Leary, +61 7 3366 3035, [email protected].

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