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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA starts health survey

Campus Health Service’s annual Health and Wellness Survey begins today.

Since 1992, the Health Promotion and Preventive Services has been surveying UA students on a range of topics such as drugs, nutrition, sexual health, violence and sleep. Last spring, 2,931 students participated in the survey, according to David Salafsky, the director of Health Promotion and Preventive Services at Campus Health.

“”It’s probably the best snapshot of health and wellness among U of A students here at the university,”” he said.

Peggy Glider, the coordinator for Evaluation and Research at Campus Health, will lead the evaluation efforts and coordinate the process for administering the survey. The survey will not be produced online because, more often, students who complete it online are those who already practice a healthy lifestyle, Salafsky said.

“”We kind of do this the old-fashioned way, by going out to the classrooms,”” he said. “”The reason why we do that is we feel we get a better response.””

The survey takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and the results are used to give people an idea of the trends over time. It is beneficial to know whether the rates are changing and if things are moving in the right direction, he said.

After evaluation of the results, programs can be implemented based on the needs of students. It is valuable for people, especially incoming freshmen, to see what the majority of UA students are doing, Salafsky said.

The most common concern among students about the survey is the accuracy of the numbers. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors are all represented in the survey results, he said. The range of students is also broad since it is a random survey of people.

“”I think some of the main questions students have for us is, ‘Is the sample size enough for us to generalize the population?'”” Salafsky said.

The sample size is accurate, especially in comparison to national surveys, he said. In terms of national polls, between 1,000 and 1,500 people are surveyed and assumptions are made about 300 million plus Americans, Salafsky said.

“”So I think in that context, it sheds light that if we have 2,000 students right here among 38,000 students total, that’s a really big number, and that’s going to give us a lot of power in terms of looking at a range of different numbers,”” he said.

Looking at statistics on mental health and alcohol use are also crucial to focus on, Salafsky said. Knowing the percentages of many health issues helps Health Promotion and Preventive Services determine what they can improve in order prevent students from being harmed, he said.

The Health and Wellness Survey is something that Health Promotion and Preventive Services always relies on to provide information on trends, student behaviors and the visibility and effectiveness of programs, Salafsky said. The results should be completed before mid-March.

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