Changes in health behaviors and outcomes following graduation from higher education

Oliver W.A. Wilson, Peter J. Matthews, Michele Duffey, Zack Papalia, Melissa Bopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine changes in health behaviors and outcomes of higher education (college) students following graduation. Undergraduate students (n = 206) enrolled at a large, northeastern United States university in general education health and wellness courses were assessed pre and post-graduation. Participants self-reported their demographics, physical activity behaviors, dietary behaviors, sleep, and stress pre and post-graduation via an online survey. Paired sample t-tests examined changes health behaviors pre and post-graduation. Following graduation, fruit and vegetable consumption increased significantly, moderate physical activity declined significantly, and both vigorous physical activity and energy expenditure, as well as weight remained stable. There was a significant reduction in stress, for men but not women, and, an increase in restful nights of sleep among women but not men. College students tended to maintain the seemingly healthy lifestyles they had as students during the period immediately following graduation. Findings highlight the value of general health and wellness courses within college given vigorous physical activity and energy expenditure did not decline following graduation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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