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How well do College Students Take Care of Themselves

Helena Nieuwland 4226391 Rochelle Buchanan 4220633 Kristi Betson 4217776

Niagara College

PSYCH 1100

Professor Keeler

November 15th 2013


Table of Contents

Research Question & Hypothesise .................3 Research Study Design ..4 Research and Observations .5 a. b. c. d. Graphs of Survey Findings ............5-6 Summaries of Survey Findings 7 Survey Sample.8 Observation notes 9-10

Results and Discussion.11 a. Opinions on Our Findings..11-12 b. Study Comparison to Hypothesis ..13 c. Limitations to Study .14 Work Cited.15


Research Question
How do the health habits of a first year College students compare to the health habits of second year and up college students when referring to smoking, drinking alcohol, eating breakfast and sleeping habits?

As a group, we decided to do our project on whether first year students, or the years after are healthiest by using these eight categories; gender, smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use, sleep management, breakfast, exercise, how they would rate their diet, and how they would rate their own health. We turned that research question into a survey which was distributed through the college randomly, and answered anonymously. While doing our research we found an article in which Rodriguez (2004) states that "when students first enter college, their diets often deteriorate and they often gain weight," she also goes on to mention that, "Male college students are more likely to meet dietary intake recommendations for the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, and nuts group; from the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group; and from the vegetable food group than are females" (Rodriguez, 2004, p. 123). What that article confirmed for us was that freshman students are generally less healthy than other years of college; especially females. On top of being susceptible for unhealthy diets, a majority of college students also hold jobs outside of school. Gorgulho, Marchioni, da Conceio, Steluti, Mussi, Nagai-Manelli, and Fischer (2012) did a study to investigate students between the ages of 18-25 and found that "working students often experienced fatigue and excessive sleepiness, and do not have enough time and will to follow healthy lifestyles". Due to these statements we hypothesize that the first year students will show a lower maintenance of health in all eight categories.


Research Study Design

Our group chose to use the survey method to collect data on the following topics, smoking, drinking alcohol, eating and sleeping habits. We asked basic questions about each topic that are well known to be healthy or not. Our survey consisted of two variable groups; first year college students and second and plus year college students. These two groups were needed in order to compare the two stated in our hypothesis. We used the control of random assignment as our survey was handed out without us having any prior knowledge pertaining to each selected student.

Our study, step by step 1. First we created a survey incorporating nine questions that covered the eight categories we have, while also inquiring their age and year in college. 2. We used the control of random assignment by picking random people throughout the college to take the survey. 3. We then used ten surveys from first years, and ten surveys from second plus years to collect our data.

Our survey follows the ethical guidelines provided by Canada as all students agreed to take the survey.


Graphs of Survey Findings

These graphs reflect on each of the areas we asked questions about on our survey.

Data on Gender of College Students Surveyed

Percentagees of Students
Male First Year in College Female Second+ Year in College 60%

Data on Smoking and Drug Use in College Students Surveyed

80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Percentages of Students

50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

First Year in College

Second+ Year in College

Data on How Many Hours of Sleep College Students Surveyed Get

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 5 hours or less First Year in College 6-8 hours 9 hours or more

Data on How Often Alcohol is Consumed by College Students Surveyed

Precentages of Students
60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Percentages of Students

Second+ Year in College

First Year in College

Second+ Year in College


Data on How Often College Students Surveyed Excerise


Data on How Often College Students Surveyed Eat Breakfast

50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Almost Always First Year in College Once in a While Almost Never

Percentages of Students

40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Never 1-2 days 3-5 days 6-7 days Second+ Year in College

First Year in College

Percentages of Students


Second+ Year in College

Data on How Healthy College Students Surveyed Consider Their Diets

Percentages of Students Percentages of Students
Healthy Somewhat Healthy Not Healthy 50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%

How Well College Students Surveyed Ranked Their Overall Health

60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Very Well First Year in College Fare Not Well

First Year in College

Second+ Year in College

Second+ Year in College


Summaries of Graph Findings

1. In graph one it is shown that in both groups a larger number of females were surveyed over Males. 2. In graph two it is shown that more first year students are smoking compared to second plus year students. It also shows that the drug use between these years is identical, with the same percentage saying yes to doing drugs, and the same percentage saying no. 3. In graph three it is shown that first year students are getting less sleep on average than the second year plus students. All second year plus students answered that they were getting six to eight hours of sleep, while some of the first year students admitted to getting five or less. 4. In graph four it is shown that more of the first year students drink frequently, and more of the second plus year students admit to drinking occasionally. Both the groups had the highest percentage in drinking rarely. 5. In graph five it is shown that first year students exercise more on average than second year plus students. Second year plus students had a higher percentage for exercising never and one to two days while first year students had it almost equally spread between never and three to five days. 6. In graph six it is shown that first year students on average are more likely to eat breakfast. They score higher in the almost always category than the second year plus group, and both scored an equal percentage of 20% for almost never eating breakfast 7. In graph seven it is shown that more of the first year students believe that they have a healthy diet. The students that are in second year and up only said that they were somewhat healthy or not healthy at all, none of them believe to have a healthy diet. 8. In graph eight it is shown that overall the First year students are more likely to rank their overall health very well or fare, while the second year plus students rank theirs more on the fare, or not well side. In conclusion when looking at all eight graphs it is shown that first year students takes better care of themselves when it comes to eating breakfast and exercising. Second year plus students however, take better care of themselves when it comes to smoking cigarettes, sleeping, and drinking alcohol. They both take equal care when it comes to the use of drugs. First year students take better care of themselves for 40% of the categories, while second year plus students take better care of themselves in 60% of the categories. Although this is the average, the first year students ranked their diet and overall health higher than the second year plus students.


How well do college students take care of themselves?

Age: This is a survey to collect information on how well students in college take care of themselves *please note this survey is anonymous*

Year in College:

Please fill in the information on the top right corner and circle the letter of each question that applies best to you!


What is your gender? a. b. Male Female

6. Do you use drugs? a. Yes b. No


How many hours of sleep do you get? a. b. c. 5 or less 68 9+

7. How often do you drink alcohol? a. Frequently b. Occasionally c. Rarely


Do you eat breakfast? a. b. c. Almost always Once in a while Almost never

8. How often do you exercise? a. Never b. 1-2 days a week c. 3-5 days a week

d. 6-7 days a week

4. How healthy do you consider your diet? a. b. c. Very healthy Somewhat healthy Not healthy at all 9. Over all how would you rank your health? a. Very well b. Fare

c. Not well
5. Do you smoke cigarettes? a. b. Yes No Thank You!


Observation Notes
First years

Males 40% Females 60%

Never 30% 1-2 40% 3-5 30%

Yes 40% No 60 %

6-7 0

5 or less 20% 6-8 70% 9+ - 10%

Very healthy 30% Somewhat 40% Not 30%

Frequent 30% Occasionally 10% Rarely 60%

Very well 30% Fare 60% Not well 10%

Almost always 50% Once in a while 30% Never 20%

Yes 40% No 60%


Second + years

Males 40% Females 60%

Never 40% 1-2 50% 3-5 10%

Yes 40% No 60 %

6-7 0

5 or less 0% 6-8 100% 9+ - 0%

Very healthy 0% Somewhat 50% Not 50%

Frequent 20% Occasionally 30% Rarely 50%

Very well 20% Fare 50% Not well 30%

Almost always 40% Once in a while 40% Never 10%

Yes 20% No 80%


Opinions on Our Findings

First years may be more likely to not get enough sleep because they aren't use to their new surroundings. Most college students are out on their own for the first time, away from the safety of home. This can have emotional, psychological and other effects. They are learning how to take care of themselves in all areas of the day and may not account for their sleep schedule. They also can take advantage of being alone for the first time and could possibly spend more time out and about with their new found friends, then worrying about the amount of sleep they will get that night. Drug use could remain the same between the two categories because drugs are a force of habit. If a first year is to start doing drugs it is unlikely that they will give up this routine by second, third year. It is an activity they have become a custom to and may continue doing throughout their college years and possibly beyond that. Drugs can be used throughout a persons life time. First years were found to use alcohol more frequently than second years. This is because in the first year most students are prone to rebel from their everyday life that they have left. Most of them are no longer under the rule of their parents and find drinking a way of acting out in a way that they want to. Usually by the second year you have that out of your system and could have learned from your grade average that it is time to buckle down. Although First years may be new to this whole thing, they were still shown to eat breakfast more occasionally. I believe that this is because they might still be in the routine that was laid out for them back home. They know that they are supposed to eat breakfast in the morning and have continued that habit into college. Once you get into second year on you are more accustomed to your own rules, could be more rushed, and have lost the importance of breakfast in your busy schedule. Programs tend to get harder in second year and therefore your mind could be thinking 100 other things other than what you should eat in the morning. First years were shown to overall smoke more cigarettes than the older years. This could be because the First years have not learned to handle their stress very well yet and they could be around a lot of people with this habit for the very first time. First years have a lot of need for experimentation and this could be something they see everyone else doing, so they try it as well. The results for exercise are pretty wide spread because that is pretty specific to each person. It's spread out pretty equally with first years exercising on average more times a week. This could be because the first years are more concerned about their physical appearance with all the new people they are meeting. They could also have more spare time then the students who become busier in second year and up. It was interesting to see that although first years were 20% healthier than second year and up students, they ranked their health on a higher scale. This could be because by second


year up you have a new grip on how unhealthy you have been the past year, and change your health habits but still have the guilt of how unhealthy you were in the past. First year students could still be oblivious to how unhealthy they are actually living.


Study Comparison to Hypothesis

Restatement of our hypothesis. We hypothesize that the first year students will show a lower maintenance of health in all eight categories. The data we collected from our survey showed that our hypothesis was somewhat correct. We found that second year plus students showed they take better care of their health 60% more than first year students, with this being said first year students ranked over all better in eating breakfast and exercising. We were not fully correct with this hypothesis because we thought the first year students would be worse in all categories while they showed more superior signs of healthy behavior in the eating breakfast and exercising categories, yet we were correct by saying second year plus students would take better care of themselves compared to first year students.


Limitations to Study
We found that the majority of our limitations were because of how small our survey group was. We were only able to obtain twenty surveys in total which is not a good representation of the entire population of college students. The students we surveyed were also strictly from Niagara College, students from different schools may have different health habits. Another limitation could be the method we chose to use. We chose to do a survey and that could lead to incorrect data as some people do not answer the questions truthfully. Also, our available answers may not have been specific enough and our questions could be easily misinterpreted. We could have fixed these problems by surveying students at other schools, handing out more surveys or choosing a different method completely to be sure our results were correct. This would've expanded our test group, taken students from different situations and strengthened the validity of our answers.


Work Cited Page

Gorgulho, B., Marchioni, D., da Conceio, A., Steluti, J., Mussi, M., Nagai-Manelli, R., & Fischer, F. (2012). Quality of diet of working college students. Work,415806-5809. Retrieved from http://hc8bm3ra4g.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=in fo:ofi/enc:UTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fm t:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Quality+of+diet+of+working+college+stud ents

Rodriguez, J.C. (2004). College Students, Diets of. In D. C. S. James (Ed.), Nutrition and WellBeing A to Z (Vol. 1, pp. 123-127). New York: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3436200063&v=2.1&u=ko_acd_ nic&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=541467ccda7c2121fb888ab0859f3202