Health Status, Behaviors, and Beliefs of Health Sciences Students and Staff at Kuwait University: Toward Maximizing the Health of Future Health Professionals and Their Patients Al-Sayegh, Nowall; Al-Enezi, Khazna; Nadar, Mohammed; Dean, Elizabeth
Health professionals who engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors are more likely to promote their patients’ health. We evaluated health status, behaviors, and beliefs of students (future health professionals) and staff in four health sciences faculties, Kuwait University. In total, 600 students and 231 staff participated in this descriptive cross-sectional study. Questionnaire surveys were used to evaluate lifestyle-related practices and participants’ beliefs about these practices, in addition to health-related objective measures, e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, and body mass index. Overweight/obesity was prevalent among the participants (staff, 68.7%, students, 48.1%; p < 0.001); 57% of staff had suboptimal resting blood pressures. About half of the participants reported being moderately physically active (staff, 44.8%, students, 52.6%; p < 0.05), and most reported moderate/high stress (staff, 88.8%, students, 90.9%; p > 0.05). Only 25.1% of staff and 27.9% of students reported at least 8 h sleep nightly (p > 0.05). Staff reported healthier dietary practices than students (p-value range < 0.001–0.02). Overall, the participants had sub-optimal health indices. A marked gap existed between participants’ beliefs about healthy lifestyle practices and their actual health status. Healthy lifestyle programs are needed on campus with respect to diet, exercise, and stress management. As emerging health professionals, students in health sciences faculties, Kuwait University, need exposure to a health-promoting environment including healthy staff as role models.
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