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An assessment of health risk behaviors among first college students at a private university in Barranquilla (Colombia)

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Author(s): Luz Marina Alonso Palacio | Miguel Ángel Pérez | Gabriel Alcalá | Ayleen Lubo Gálvez | Adriana Consuegra

Journal: Salud Uninorte
ISSN 0120-5552

Volume: 24;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 235;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: University students | adolescents | tobacco use | HIV/AIDS | sexuality | drug abuse

ABSTRACT
Objective: To investigate the health knowledge and behaviors of first year college studentsattending a private university in Colombia.Materials and methods: This descriptive study had a sample population of 540 studentsrandomly selected from 2500 eligible students in the population. Data were collected usinga modified version of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey developed by the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention in the US. Data were analyzed using SPSS v. 13.Findings. The average age in the sample was 18 years of age, 52.7% of the samplepopulation were women, 13.5% were considered overweight and 2.6% were obese. 20% ofthe sample walks more than 10 minutes per day, and an additional 20% walks less than30 minutes on a daily basis. Forty three percent listens to music as a stress managementtechnique. Over two thirds of the study participants have consumed alcohol at least oncein their lifestyle, 35.2% have smoked, 56% use some form of contraceptive methods, and51.1% reported being sexually active. Only 1.1% of study participantsreported an STI,4.3% had considered suicide in the last year, and 65,2% had actually tried to commitsuicide.Conclusions: Risk behaviors are prevalent among first year collage students makingimportant to design strategies designed to ameliorate their influence in the health statusof adolescents.

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