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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 265-278

Changes in Health-Related Attitude and Self-Reported Behaviour of Undergraduate Students at the American University of Beirut Following a Health Awareness Course

1 Department of Health Behaviour and Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
2 Department of Family Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon
3 Department of Health Behaviour and Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Currently: Public Health Consultant in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Rema A Afifi Soweid
Department of Health Behaviour and Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 11-0236, Riad El Solh, Beirut, 2020 1107
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

The importance of the university as a setting for health promotion is increasingly being acknowledged. Part of this health promoting function includes curricular offerings to increase health awareness. However, there is a dearth of systematic evaluations of such courses. Objective: To evaluate the impact of a university level ''Health Awareness'' course on attitudes and behaviours of undergraduates enrolled in the course. Methods: A self-administered survey was used to assess attitude and self-reported behaviour of students at the beginning and end of the course. Paired analysis of means compared responses at pre and post assessments for groups of items within a particular health topic. Cross tabulations of stage of change at pre and post assessment indicated movement related to tobacco use, exercise, and nutrition. Results: Results indicated an improvement of at least 20% from pretest score in four out of eleven health topic areas, and of 10-20% in an additional five topical areas. In addition, movement in a health promotive direction along the stages of change was evident for smoking, eating fruits and vegetables, and exercise. Discussion: The results presented herein are encouraging and indicate support for the impact of a health awareness class on knowledge, attitude, and behaviour of undergraduate students. The two topical areas that did not show improvements between pre and post assessment were those (i) for which students already scored high at pre assessment, or (ii) which the course did not tackle specifically. Conclusions to be drawn are limited by several factors inherent in the design of this evaluation. Future evaluation should include a larger number of students and a comparison group.

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