Health-promoting lifestyles of university students in Mainland China

Dong Wang; Chun-Quan Ou; Mei-Yen Chen; Ni Duan
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p379
Academic Journal
Background: Health-promoting lifestyles of adolescents are closely related to their current and subsequent health status. However, few studies in mainland China have examined health-promoting behaviors among university students, notwithstanding the dramatic development of higher education over the past two decades. Moreover, no study has applied a standardized scale to such an investigation. The adolescent health promotion (AHP) scale has been developed and is commonly used for measuring adolescent health-promoting lifestyles in Taiwan. The aim of this study is to determine the appropriateness of the AHP for use in mainland China. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed on a total of 420 undergraduates, who were randomly selected using a two-stage stratified sampling method in a university in Guangzhou city, mainland China. The simplified Chinese version of the AHP scale, comprising six dimensions (Nutrition behavior, Social support, Life-appreciation, Exercise behavior, Health-responsibility and Stress-management), was used to measure health-promoting lifestyles among undergraduates. The reliability of the AHP scale was assessed using split-half reliability coefficients, intraclass correlation coefficients and Cronbach's α coefficient. Validity was assessed by factor analysis and correlation analysis. Factors associated with health-promoting lifestyles were identified using multiple linear regression. Results: Cronbach's coefficients were greater than 0.7 in all dimensions of the AHP scale except for Nutrition behavior (0.684). Intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.689 to 0.921. Splithalf reliability coefficients were higher than 0.7 in three AHP dimensions (Social support, Life-appreciation and Exercise behavior). Our results were generally in accordance with the theoretical construction of the AHP scale. The mean score for each of the six dimensions was lower than 70. Gender and grade were the factors primarily associated with health-promoting lifestyles among undergraduates. Conclusion: The AHP is a valid and reliable instrument for assessing health-promoting lifestyles of undergraduates in mainland China, which remain at a low level. Health behavior education taking account of gender and grade differences may also be applied.


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