The purpose of this research was to measure university students' perceived risk of diabetes and self-reported diabetes risk factors. Informed consent forms and survey questionnaires were distributed to students in randomly sampled courses (n=357), with students aged 18 to 24. Out of the 357 surveys completed, 325 surveys were used for analysis of this study. Forty-eight percent of participants between ages 18 to 24 perceived themselves at minimal risk for developing type II diabetes. Sampled participants reported a mean of 2.25 (type II) diabetes risk factors out of 18 diabetes risk factors. Additionally, there were significant differences (p<0.05) in the number of risk factors reported among perceived risk groups, with the exception of the no risk and minimal risk groups, who reported average of 1.92 risk factors. Among racial groups, there were no significant differences (p<0.05) in the number of risk factors reported. Result corresponds with university students' perception of diabetes, as concerns for developing type II diabetes is not critical or top priority while in higher education (Dong-Chul, 2008). Students' perception may also indicate that they are not knowledgeable about diabetes and diabetes risk factors. Health educators should create awareness about the development of diabetes at an earlier age. It is imperative to start educating university students about diabetes prevention and other health complications that can result from being overweight or obese. With 34% of university students overweight or obese, health educators should create educational materials (tailored to university-aged students) to encourage making healthy dietary choices and engaging in frequent physical activity.


Amy Hedman

Committee Member

Dawn Larsen

Committee Member

Hans-Peter de Ruiter

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Health Science


Allied Health and Nursing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License