Many adolescents’ health problems are predominantly caused by risk behaviors which contribute to the main causes of morbidity and mortality in this age group. The adverse health consequences of these behaviors have been recognized as important public health issues.
Objective: The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of health risk behaviors among University students in Qassim University, KSA.
Methods: Cross-sectional study was conducted among 400 female students from different colleges in Qassim University. Data were collected on risk behavior for health issues in the previous 12 months using an anonymous standard Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The YRBS monitors priority health-risk behaviors (behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries, behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, dietary behaviors, physical activity and sedentary behaviors, and weight management).
Results: The results showed that 88% of participants were 19 years old or more and most of them (41%) were from Business College. Regarding the psychological risk behaviors; 46.4% of students felt so sad for two or more weeks and 9.8 % of them attempted suicide often during the past 12 months. Among students of Computer College, 38.3% were fasted 24 hours or more to lose or maintain weight compared to 22% of Business students and 20% of dentistry students. About twenty-nine percent of participants used medication twice without doctor’s prescription during the past six months and 30% of them adopted on a friend recipe for specific medicine and used it. About 33.9% of participants incorrectly classified their weight status, with 21.6% underestimating and 12.3% of them overestimating their weight.
Conclusion: This study highlighted the relatively high prevalence of health risk behaviors including physical inactivity, sad feelings, suicidal attempted, unhealthy weight control behaviors and usage of medications among female students in Qassim University, KSA.