Starting university may be hazardous to your health: study

October 4, 2007

Moving away from home and adapting to a new social environment are just two of the many challenges that new students face as they enter university. An innovative new study conducted at the University of Alberta has found that these challenges can actually have a negative effect on a student's health.

The researchers found that female students who lived away from home were three times more likely to report symptoms of binge eating compared to those students living with parents during their first year of university studies.

Also, students who felt dissatisfied with their bodies were three times as likely to report symptoms of binge eating when entering their first year of studies.

"Few studies have explored the links between the challenges associated with the transition of entering university and eating problems," says Erin Barker, who conducted the research while completing her PhD at the University of Alberta and current professor at Wisconsin’s Beloit College.

One-hundred-and-one (101) full-time female first-year students at a large North American university completed a web-based daily checklist of health behaviors (i.e. sleeping, eating, exercise, alcohol use) for 14 consecutive days over one of four two-week periods in the first three months of fall term. Variables studied included binge eating symptoms, body dissatisfaction, living away from home and number of class hours per week.

"Moving away from home and poor social adjustment may reflect decreases in social support and increases in interpersonal stress that for some young women contribute to eating problems," says Barker. "In the future, research should study whether adjustment to the transition to university contributes to binge eating in young men as well."

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Lunch has a footprint – and a sustainability label of one to five stars

Related Stories

The (fish) eyes have it

November 24, 2015

Understanding how fish "see" is helping a team of international scientists increase their knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef's biodiversity.

Lionfish study explores idea of eating an ecological problem

November 10, 2015

The lionfish is a ferocious ocean carnivore with a flamboyant "mane" of venomous spines. This exotic maroon-and-white creature, native to the Indo-Pacific, made its way west through the aquarium trade. During recent years, ...

San Diego's kelp forests are teeming with life

November 3, 2015

Below the San Diego coastline's pristine horizon lies a parallel world more akin to an ethereal rain forest than the sun-soaked scenery above. The region's underwater kelp forests are home to an incredibly diverse population ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.