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Health professional students┬ĺ self‐reported test anxiety and nutrition

Background: Higher education students are frequently exposed to stressful life conditions in pursuit of their degrees within a highly competitive environment. Especially, health professional students experience high levels of stress throughout their academic life, which may affect also their nutritional choices.Aim: To explore whether and to what extent the exams anxiety of final year health visiting students influences their dietary habits. Method and material: A questionnaire containing demographic information, anthropometric measurements, nutrition and stress eating habits and state part of the Spielberger State‐Trait Anxiety Inventory was completed by a random sample of final year students (N=166). Statistics included descriptive measures, correlations using Spearman rho coefficient and logistic regression analysis. Findings: The majority of the sample consisted of females (78,9%), while most students were non‐smokers, with normal BMI and they tend to follow healthy dietary habits. Although, diet score was positively correlated with anxiety, correlation was significant only for women. Male students with high anxiety appear to consume more often doughnut and sweets at breakfast (explaining 27,6% of anxiety variance), while women with high stress tend to use less supplemental salt in meals (explaining 5,6% of anxiety variance).Conclusions: In general, health visiting students follow a healthy lifestyle pattern which is negatively affected during exams period and is manifested through consumption of saturated and high in calories meals, especially by females.

Author(s): Soultatou Pelagia

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