An Open Access article published in the Health Behavior and Policy Review Journal.
The full article is available as a PDF download.
Philip Jacobs, PhD
In this paper, we explore how the relevance of college-level personal health courses could be enhanced and how these courses could be leveraged for improving student health and providing access to information useful in reducing health disparities and improving overall health in adulthood.
We examine and interpret literature on college student health and the content and delivery of personal health courses.
College-level personal health courses occur in many different academic units and through numerous delivery modes. College students’ ability to access and use health information may be a social determinant of health later in life. Whereas specific course content varies, it underperforms in relevance to students’ lives. Specific areas needing improvement are mental health, interpersonal relationships, food selection and preparation on a budget, harm reduction with respect to alcohol use, and other areas that currently receive insufficient attention.
Personal health courses may have the potential to reduce health disparities if access to college and relevant health-related information can be operationalized better. Motivated by the impact on collegiate life by the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend research that leads to reform of college-level personal health courses responsive to student interests and delivery mechanisms that enhance motivation to learn, and result in reduced susceptibility to chronic diseases and improved adult health and quality of life.