Campus News

UHS administers campus-wide health survey to understand student behaviors

University Health Services distributed a survey to 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students in an effort to better understand the health behaviors of UW-Madison students.

Image By: Brandon Moe and Brandon Moe

University Health Services distributed a survey to 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students Monday in an effort to better understand the health behaviors of UW-Madison students.

The National College Health Assessment — distributed by the American College Health Association — will give the university a better understanding of the health, well-being and safety of the UW-Madison campus community, according to Marlena Holden, interim director for Marketing and Prevention Services at UHS.

While the survey is intended to get an idea of student health, personal safety and sexual behaviors, Holden said UHS is “particularly interested” in UW-Madison’s drinking rates.

Programs like AlcoholEdu track drinking rates among incoming first-year and transfer students; however, the university does “not have a great picture” about drinking levels among students in other grade levels, Holden said.

Holden said she thinks the NCHA survey will change this.

“The [survey] allows us to look at students from other grade levels to see what their rates of drinking are because we do have an extremely high rate of high-risk drinking at UW-Madison,” Holden said.

The NCHA was last administered at UW-Madison in 2015. Data from that year show 80.6 percent of students reported consuming alcohol within 30 days of taking the survey. Just 8.7 percent of students surveyed reported not drinking at all.

The survey — emailed to students randomly — is voluntary and confidential. Student e-mail addresses are destroyed by ACHA before data are compiled and shared with UW-Madison, according to an email asking students to take the survey.

Despite a 14.3 percent student response rate in the 2015 survey, Holden said the randomly selected students who participated in the survey were representative of the UW-Madison population.

Holden hopes to see an increased response rate — to about 20 percent — for this year’s survey. Students who complete the survey by the March 23 deadline will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

“Everyone’s voice matters,” Holden said. “This is just a wonderful opportunity for UW-Madison students to have their voices heard.”

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