Students' Health and Lifestyle Survey. A Case Study of Taita Taveta University

Bachelor Thesis, 2019

67 Pages


Table of Contents




1.3.1 General Objective
1.3.2 Specific Objectives

2.1.1 DIET
2.1.6 SLEEP
2.1.7 DRUGS


4.1 Demographics
4.1.1 Age
4.1.2 Accommodation
4.2 Physical Exercise
4,3 Diet
4.4 Smoking
4.5 Sex
4.6 Alcohol
4.7 Sleep
4.8 Drugs
4.9 Bivariate analysis
4.10 Multivariate Analysis
4.12 Model diagnostics





We dedicate this research proposal to our parents who have always wanted the best for us and have sacrificed almost everything just to see us prosper and our siblings who look up to us as their role models.


We would like to thank the Almighty God for His grace, good health and the ability to undertake and complete this research proposal as a group. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to our supervisor Dr. Oscar Ngesa for devoting his time to guide and correct us throughout the proposal writing. We also thank our parents for their financial and moral support, we will forever be grateful for their encouragement. Finally, we appreciate one another for contributing orally and in documentation as group members. May the Almighty God bless us all.


Background : Lifestyle is a key determinant of health of an individual, therefore, health and lifestyle has become a major concern to researchers worldwide. People have different lifestyles which affects their health positively or negatively. The purpose of this study is to assess factors that affects health status of students in Taita Taveta University.

Methods : Self-administered questionnaires was used for data collection to provide demographic information as well as patterns and behaviors regarding physical activity, diet, sleep, sexual health, alcohol consumption, tobacco and drug use among the students. Multiple linear regression was employed to understand the effect of several independent variables on health status of the students.

Results : From our research we discovered that most students do not take drugs and alcohol. Also, most of student have poor sleeping habits. We found that department and age are not significant in explaining health status of an individual. Gender turned out to be a significant predictor of health score and it only explains 2% of variation. Generally, Taita Taveta University students live a healthy life style.



According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2015), Health is defined as the state of complete mental, physical and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Health contributes to general wellbeing and overall lifestyle. For a person to live and enjoy quality of life, good health habits achieved because basic health determines what a person can do.

In recent decades, lifestyle has been recognized as a critical determinant of health status which has become a significant focus of study worldwide. Majorly as its reported by the WHO, about 60% of an individual's health status, depends on their lifestyle. Most of the Kenyan health and lifestyle articles have indicated that healthy lifestyle practices reduce disease occurrence, mortality and socio-demographic dimensions like sex, age, marital status, economic and employment status relate with a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy lifestyles depend on the early stage adoption of healthy living habits; unhealthy lifestyles among youths mostly strongly linked to unhealthy habits in adulthood (Lowry, 2000). Health-related behaviors in early stages of life affect the disease risks related to lifestyle in later periods of growth. Although it is hard to change unhealthy habits that adults have adopted in their young stage, significant effects of health risk factors among adults are avoidable if the behaviors identified and replaced at an early stage (Gall, 2009). Therefore, it is essential to increase healthy lifestyle behaviors among young people.

From previous studies, university students represent a significant segment of the young adult population (Salmon et al., 1999). They usually enter a dynamic transitional period of new independence from their parent that is characterized by changes in body, mind and social relationship and experience further stress, change in patterns in life which are vital contributors to unhealthy lifestyles (Zalot et al., 2009). Majority of university students are minimally involved in health-promoting behaviors and as such exhibit behavioral health risks such as tobacco use, alcohol, and other substance abuse and improper diet and physical activities (Jorgensen, 2008). Some diseases such as sexually transmitted diseases, prehypertension, psychological symptoms and mental, and obesity and being overweight are also on the rise among college students. These behavior patterns and their results typically persist into adulthood, deteriorating individuals' health status in later life (Pender et al., 1992). Many studies have shown that the health behavior modulated by the socio-demographical variables, such as Age, gender, socio-economic level, ethics, examination level at admission, and educational level of their parents.

Lifestyle mostly expressed in work and leisure behavior patterns and activities, interests, attitudes, values, consumptions, interaction, opinions, and allocation of income. It also reflects people's self-image or self-concept; the ways they see themselves and believe the others recognize them. Lifestyle is a way of living that can be considered either healthy or unhealthy depending on personal behavioral choices. Health-promoting lifestyle is defined as a multidimensional pattern of self-initiated actions and perceptions that serve to maintain or enhance the level of wellness, self-actualization, and fulfillment of the individual (Walter et al., 1987). Health encouraging behaviors include physical activity, health responsibility, nutrition, spiritual growth, interpersonal relations, and stress management (Haddad et al., 1998). A health-promoting lifestyle is an essential factor in health status and recognizes as a significant factor for the maintenance and improvement of health (Mirghafourv et al., 2015). Changeable health behaviors like eating ways, physical activity, and smoking are significant factors in the development of enduring diseases.

University is a curial stage of education where students encounter some challenges including changes in the social and developing new social networks, built environments, having more behavioral autonomy, and adapting to new schedules (Greaney et al.,2009). During this phase of education, university students are more likely to engage in risky health behaviors known to negatively affect their well-being, such as physical inactivity, stress, and poor dietary habits (Nelson et al., 2008).


An individuals' lifestyle has been seen to have a significant effect on their health status (Paudel et al., 2017). In Taita Taveta University, no published study has been done to indicate the health status of the students at large. For instance, in recent cases, there has been a rise in the number of health-related issues like drug abuse, alcohol consumption and unwanted pregnancy cases reported. This among other lifestyle factors such as physical activities, diet, amount of sleep, mental health, have triggered the need for research to find out their contribution to the health status of students.

We believe that having a healthy lifestyle has a significant effect on students' personal, academic performance, their state of mind and, the quality of graduates the university releases into the job market. Our study will help in depicting a real and clear picture of whether students are adhering to healthy lifestyle practices and their effect on their health status and to determine whether we have significant evidence to believe that students in Taita Taveta University are living a healthy lifestyle. We think that the results analysis of this study will help in determining the actual health status of the students and the measures that can be taken to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle.


1.3.1 General Objective

To assess the factors affecting the health status of university students in Taita Taveta University

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

1. To compare health habits across gender in Taita Taveta University
2. To determine whether age, gender and department affect health status.
3. To compare health status across academic departments



This chapter shows the theoretical literature relevant to the problem being investigated showing the linkage to the research objectives. It indicates what has been done by other researchers including methodologies used to identify the gap in the researches.

The conceptual framework demonstrates an understanding of which variable influences what.

2.1.1 DIET

University students are at high risk for making poor dietary choices that can cause significant health problems. (Brown et al., 2017) warned the transition to university causes significant changes in dietary options. Majority of undergraduate students eat at university dining facilities with limited healthy food options. However, if students do not attain adequate nutrition daily, a major decrease in academic or physical performance can result. The purpose of the present quantitative study is to investigate university students’ health and lifestyle on nutritional requirements for health (Winther, 2005). Despite the strong emphasis on meeting nutritional requirements every day to day optimal health, many university students tend to care less about or neglect their nutritional requirements. Many factors come in to play a role as they transit to university life. Many of them leave the parental home and adapt to social and environmental changes, acknowledge new financial responsibilities, build different social networks, and experience different time availability (Das B et al., 2014). Yet, meeting nutritional requirements remains vital in achieving one’s health. It is very beneficial for university students to formulize good eating habits that lead them to obtaining health and optimal function.

It is crucial to meet daily nutritional requirements for one’s body to function properly and to maintain one’s health to the optimal level. Most nutritional values such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and most minerals can be obtained from food sources (Educ, 1987). However, some individuals take dietary supplements on daily basis to ensure their nutrition level. The current university-age group should have had education on nutrition back in elementary school via the Food Pyramid. Also, since 2011, people have had access to My Plate, which is a visual representation of nutrition requirements. Each nutrient plays an important role in establishing health, metabolism, and proper function of the body (Brown, 2017).

It is inevitable that university students face a new environment for meal preparation, planning, and eating as they transition to their college life. Even though many university-aged students are aware of the importance of meeting nutritional values, their knowledge and attitude might hinder them from changing their behavior. Many other factors come in to play in their decision-making, however, the college students’ knowledge on nutrition does not always lead to healthy food choices. (Stockton et al., 1995) discovered university students do understand that consuming fast food can lead to diseases; however, their knowledge was not a factor that influenced their food choices. Interestingly, Stockton and Baker found that university students did not think the harm from fast food was related to calories but rather harmful chemicals and additives. The main concern the students had was not the number of calories they were taking, but the additives to their food. Also, the male college students consumed more fast food than female college students. Students thought that hamburgers were not harmful to their health (Nurs, 2004).


Alcohol is a drug found in all alcoholic drinks such as beer, wines and spirits. Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows the functioning of various parts of the human brain and the central nervous system. This implies that alcohol changes the way we feel and perceive things. This drug is manufactured by a process called fermentation. This drug is known as one of the most psychoactive substances in the world (Arnarson, 2018).

According to (WHO, 2004) about 2 billion people across the whole world consume alcoholic drinks especially beer, wines and spirits. On average, adults consume 5litres of pure alcohol from beer, wines and spirits per year. Alcohol consumption rate is highest in Europe, followed by America and then Africa. On average, around 76 million people have currently had alcohol use disorders like excessive drinking and alcohol dependence.

Drinking alcohol especially in the period of university study is a current social challenge that deserves urgent research attention, and the consequences of excessive drinking of alcohol among young people especially university students have become an international challenge. Alcohol is a stimulant and most people drink it particularly for this effect. Alcohol has very powerful effects on the user’s moods and mental state. There are several negative effects that are associated with alcohol abuse and addiction (Walid et al., 2011). These effects range from physical health to mental health of the user.

Effects on the liver

Liver is of the vital and remarkable body organs in the human digestive system which play very important roles in the human body. One of its main roles in the human digestive system is to neutralize the various toxic substances that a person consumes. The liver is one of the body organs that is vulnerable to damage by heavy alcohol intake. Moreover, heavy alcohol intake causes alcoholic liver diseases which a great threat to one’s health. One of these alcoholic liver diseases is fatty liver, which is characterized by increased fats inside the liver cells. Fatty liver gradually in 90% of those who take more than a ½ once (15ml) of alcohol per day and is usually symptomless and fully reversible (Crabb et al., 1999).

For heavy alcohol drinkers, excessive intake of alcohol may cause inflammation of liver. In worst cases, liver cells die the whole liver is covered by scars, leading to liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is a dangerous and irreversible disease, and its associated with many other serious health problems (Massey et al., 2012) .It is now very clear that heavy alcohol intake is not only acutely toxic but also contributes to chronicity of alcoholic liver diseases.

Effects on the brain

Excessive alcohol intake has serious numerous negative effects on the user’s brain. High alcohol consumption reduces communication between the human brain cells. Heavy drinking of alcohol also causes blackout, which is characterized by temporary memory loss or amnesia (White et al., 2003). These are only temporary effects of alcohol on the human brain, but excessive abuse of alcohol causes permanent changes in the user’s brain. This often leads to impaired brain function and poor decision making.


There is a casual association between alcohol use disorders and major depression. Most of the depression disorders among many youths are mainly as a result of heavy alcohol consumption and may be abuse of other addictive substances in adolescence (Sihvola et al., 2008).


Tobacco product are products made entirely from a leaf of Tobacco as a raw material, which are intended to be smoked, sucked, chewed or snuffed. All contain the highly addictive psychoactive ingredient, nicotine.

Tobacco use is one of the key risk factors for several chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases as reported by WHO. Despite this, it is common throughout the world. From the global report by (WHO, 2015) Tobacco use among youths is rapidly increasing in many countries; in some, tobacco is now more commonly used by youth than adults. Globally, the estimated number of boys and girls aged 13-15 years old who smoke cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco products are approximately 25 million and 13 million respectively. (Difranza et al., 1996) reports that girls and youths aged 16 and older are more successful in accessing the purchase of Tobacco.

Also, according to (WHO, 2017), most countries with a reduction in tobacco use among boys and girls are countries with high Human Development Index (HDI). Currently, countries with the highest prevalence of tobacco use among youths are generally non-very-high HDI countries. In several of these countries, tobacco use among adolescent girls is now more common than among adult women, indicating that historically lower prevalence of tobacco uses among female in many populations worldwide may not continue in the near future. Several countries have legislation restricting tobacco advertising and regulation who can buy and use tobacco products and have people who can smoke.

Even though cigarette smoking is the most common type of tobacco used among youth worldwide, the use of other tobacco products is very common in some population. For example, smokeless tobacco was the most common tobacco product used by boys and girls aged 13-15 in Nepal in 2011, with prevalence of 19.7% and 12.9% respectively, while prevalence of any tobacco product use was 24.6% among boys and 16.4% among girls (Drope et al., 2017). Waterpipe smoking which is also one of the tobacco products used was more common in some part of Asia and North Africa, but it is then becoming popular among young adults, particularly college and university students in some other countries (Salloum et al., 2012). In addition to cigarettes smoking, the use of all these products need to be addressed appropriately by tobacco control measures.

Duration of tobacco use is likely to be longer among those who start tobacco use at earlier ages than those who start it later in life and its particularly an important factor in increasing lung cancer risk. This further underscore the need for implementation of effective tobacco control policies to prevent initiation of tobacco use- and provide help with cessation for those who already use tobacco-among youth (Flanders et al., 2003).

The most active users of tobacco products were male with 83.8% and 3 out of 4 tobacco users are reported to be less than 50 years old, with the average age being from 21-27 years old and men being nearly seven times the odd of women as compared (BMC Public Health, 2008).


WHO has engrossed in the area of sexual health since at least 1974, when the deliberation of an expert committee resulted in the publication of the technical report entitled, Education and treatment in human sexuality (WHO, 1975).

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO convened several experts' consultations to review terminology and identify programmed options. In a subsequent meeting organized by the PAHO and world associations for sexual health, some sexual concerns addressed concerning body integrity, sexual safety, eroticism, gender, sexual orientation, emotional attachment, and reproduction (WHO, 2000).

According to WHO sexual health termed as a state of physical, mental and social well-being concerning sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful treatment approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.

Sexual health is defined as an approach to sexuality founded inaccurate knowledge, personal awareness, and self-acceptance where one's behavior, values and emotions are congruent and integrated within a person's overall personality structure and self-definition (Robinson et al. 2002).

Sexual health involves an ability to be intimate with a partner, to communicate explicitly about sexual needs and desire to be sexually functional (to have the passion, become aroused and obtain sexual fulfillment) to act intentionally and responsibly and to set appropriate sexual boundaries (R Nelson, 2011).

Sexual health has a communal aspect, reflecting not only self-acceptance and respect but also respect and appreciation of individual differences, diversity and a feeling of belonging to and involvement in one's sexual cultures. Sexual health includes a sense of self-esteem, personal attractiveness, and competence as well as freedom from sexual dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual assault or coercion (R Nelson, 2011).

Sexual habit is involved with sexually transmitted diseases and an intended pregnancy. Each year an estimated 333 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STI's) occur worldwide with the highest rate among 20-24 years old, followed by 15-19 years early, one in 20 young people is believed to contract sexually transmitted infections (STI's) each year, excluding HIV and other viral infections (WHO, 2015).

Many adolescents have access to an acceptable and affordable sexually transmitted infections (STI's) services, therefore, because the University student is within the age bracket of a most affected group with sexual health-related diseases hence the need to research the rate of students who practice safe sex.


Scientific evidence indicates that regular exercise, physical activity, and fitness are an important determinant of health. Proper dosage of regular physical activity, participation in sports provides physical and mental health benefits to male and female of all ages, including those with disability, as well as with social relationships. Physical activity is a cheap and strong means for prevention of diseases, improvement of health and wellbeing, and it also promotes integration and social interaction (WHO, 2003).

Physical activity refers to all energy used by movement and is defined as any body movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure above resting level. This includes household and outdoor chores, the jobs held outside the home, walking, cycling, shopping, sports, intentional exercises, and other activities of daily living or other recreational activities. Thus, exercise improves fitness and health, and this depends on type of physical activity engaged and genetic factors which is seen on competitive sports, weight lifting or distance running (Caspersen et al., 1985).


Excerpt out of 67 pages


Students' Health and Lifestyle Survey. A Case Study of Taita Taveta University
Bachelor of science in Statistics
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Health lifestyle, Multiple linear regression, Bivariate analysis, Diet, smoke, Exercies, Multicollinearity, Heteroscedastic, sample size, research design, populaion, reliability and validity, ethical consideration
Quote paper
George Kingori Maina (Author), 2019, Students' Health and Lifestyle Survey. A Case Study of Taita Taveta University, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: Students' Health and Lifestyle Survey. A Case Study of Taita Taveta University

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free