This paper discusses the female-male differences in health status, health-related behaviours and self-perceived health of a large sample population of Italian university students enrolled in the “Sportello Salute Giovani” Project (SSGP). The Italian Health Behaviours in School-aged Children (HBSC) questionnaire was modified by a committee of university professors and experts of the Italian National Institute of Health in order to adapt it to the university age range. The final questionnaire consisted in 93 multiple choice questions and was distributed in 10 Italian universities. 8516 university students were included in the survey (67% were females). Significant differences were found between females and males in almost all the health-related behaviours explored in the study. A great difference was found in the nutritional habits, where females generally seem to pay more attention to healthy behaviours. However, females show to suffer more from stress, to have a lower level of acceptance of their own bodies and to have a lower level of self-perceived health. Males have a higher tendency for risky behaviour and need to become more aware of the importance of routine andrological examinations. It would be appropriate to develop and implement health promotion and disease prevention strategies that are specifically targeted in order to address the sex-specific differences that have been observed.
- health promotion
- university students