Avoiding and Reducing Harmful Habits

Summary of the article

The paper reports findings of a mixed-method study of Canadian university students. In the first phase, findings bring out the need for redevelopment of the educational course for first years. Then in the second phase, the re-development of the health education course is assessed based on its impact in the wellness and learning of students. The authors explain the methodology of their experiment and provide the findings of their experiment. The findings demonstrate the effectiveness of a health education that responds to needs identified by students. The study uses practicality to deliver both quantitative and qualitative in-depth findings. The article finds out that the decision individuals make regarding their health and wellness reflect their circumstances and the chances they have had in life. Further it shows that students really want to feel they belong to campus and prefer activities that create the bond in campus. They recognize that abandoning their health and wellness so as to pursue their academics is a sacrifice they make so as to get into their dream careers. The study finds out that Canadian students understand and willingly adopt good nutrition and dietary habits to a far greater extent than their other North American counterparts.

Assessment of the article

This article provides comprehensive analysis of the factors that affect the recognition of good health habits for university students. By delivering qualitative findings the authors are able to put the quantitative findings in context and conclusively offer a verdict on the question of student wellness and their health. Its answers the question of why students fail to avoid harmful eating habits even after being introduced to wellness and proper health through introductory courses based on what the authors call “topic-based” health information. The article further shows that effectiveness of the health information courses is limited by the resources deployed and policies implemented in the student setting. The authors advocate for the facilitation of a good environment for students so that they can practice healthy habits like proper dieting and nutrition. This study is appropriate because it handles demographic most prone to harmful habits of substance addiction and alcohol indulgence among others.

Reflection on the article use for nursing

It is important to provide the environment which easily allows individuals to adopt good habits. Therefore just like health education examined in this article, nursing should adopt a holistic approach in delivering healthcare. Nurses should recognize that individuals are influenced by their circumstances as to whether they adopt new behaviour. Secondly it is important to understand that different communities have different beliefs and reasons for practicing those beliefs and customs. Nurses must involve their patients in the context of their communities to find out their specific needs and reasons for adoption or non-adoption of good habits that are important for their health and wellness. The greater importance attributed to the sense of belonging to the campus by students sampled in the study asks for a community wide outreach of implementing healthcare so that individual do not abandon healthy habits just because the group they wish to be identified with does is synonymous with harmful habits.


Higgins, S. J. W., Lauzon L. L., Yew A. C., Bratseth C. D. and McLeod N. Wellness 101: health education for the university student. Health Education, 110(4):309-327 DOI: 10.1108/09654281011052655