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College kids need to change unhealthy ways
Date:5/6/2014

pending on their race, the scientists found.

For example, tobacco use and alcohol binge drinking seem to go hand in hand for all subgroups except black students. For black students, tobacco use co-occurred with being overweight/obese.

"Tobacco use and obesity are two health issues that have been vying in the last five years for first place as the major health problem in the United States," said Joseph Kang, lead author of the study and assistant professor in preventive medicine-biostatistics at Feinberg. "It's frightening that those behaviors seem to co-occur in black students."

Native Americans were the only racial group in which there were students who engaged in all five unhealthy behaviors/conditions (alcohol binge drinking, tobacco use, insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption, low physical activity and obesity/being overweight). The finding was surprising and even more frightening than the profile for tobacco use and obesity in black students, Kang said.

Understanding cancer risk behavior clustering by race and ethnicity is critical given that the number of new cases is projected to increase by 45 percent by 2030 and surpass heart disease as the leading causes of death in the United States. (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2014. The state of cancer care in America, 2014: a report by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. J. Oncol. Pract. 10, 119.). If left unaddressed in college students, there is potential for cancer rates to escalate even higher.

"There are major cancer disparities both in terms of risk, morbidity and mortality with racial and ethnic minorities in the United States," Hitsman said. "In this study, we see some of these behavioral risk factors already starting in young adulthood. Future research should monitor the persistence of cancer risk behavior clustering by race and ethnicity."

Other key results from the study broken down by race/ethnicity:

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Contact: Erin White
ewhite@northwestern.edu
847-491-4888
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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