Name of Faculty Advisor
Dr. Kevin Mazor
The current research aims to evaluate the effect the lockdown has had on the life-style habits of college-aged students.
Background and significance
COVID-19 has compelled world leaders to implement new regulation designed to slow the spread of the pandemic, including mandated social distancing, mask wearing, and stay-at-home orders. These stay-at-home orders have led to changes in lifestyle habits. In studies of lifestyle changes that occurred during the initial stay-at-home orders in 2020, adults reported increased consumption of both number of meals and number of foods high in sugar. Physical activity levels also decreased. The current project aims to quantify any changes in health status and lifestyle habits of college-aged students throughout the pandemic.
Based on studies by Colleen Conley, students in the first two years of college generally experience a decrease in physiological functioning and cognitive-affective strategies. This may make them especially sensitive to the lifestyle changes resulting from COVID-19. However, there have been few studies focused specially on the college-aged population.
Participants were asked to complete an online, anonymous, Qualtrics-based survey that asked questions about lifestyle changes that have occurred during the pandemic. Questions focused on changes in sleep, weight, sugar consumption, total food consumption, and physical activity.
The survey received 45 responses. Overall, 66% of participants reported that the lockdown resulted in a change in their overall health perception. Specifically, 70% of the survey participants reported decreased activity, 36% reported an increase in weight, 36% reported an increase in sugar consumption, and 63% reported an increase in the hours of sleep.
The results from our survey reveal that since March 2020, participants have adapted to the ever-changing situation of COVID-19 by adjusting their lifestyle habits. The change in day-to-day life and activities have resulted in a majority of participants reporting a change in their overall health perception, and health behaviors such as activity level, sleep, and eating habits have also changed. It can be concluded that COVID-19 has altered college student health behaviors.
Health Behaviors of College-aged Students during COVID-19