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Perceptions of Health Risks amongst Tertiary Education Students in Mauritius

Authors: Smita S. D. Goorah, Dilish Jokhoo


A personal estimate of a health risk may not correspond to a scientific assessment of the health risk. Hence, there is a need to investigate perceived health risks in the public. In this study, a young, educated and healthy group of people from a tertiary institute were questioned about their health concerns. Ethics clearance was obtained and data was collected by means of a questionnaire. 362 students participated in the study. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol drinking, illicit drugs, unsafe sex and potential carcinogens were perceived to be the five greatest threats to health in this cohort. On the other hand natural health products, unemployment, unmet contraceptive needs, family violence and homelessness were felt to be the least perceived health risks. Nutrition-related health risks as well as health risks due to physical inactivity and obesity were not perceived as major health threats. Such a study of health perceptions may guide health promotion campaigns.

Keywords: Health Promotion, university students, perceptions of health risks

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