Health check attendance association with health and study-related factors: a register-based cohort study of Finnish university entrants

Noora Seilo, Susanna Paldanius, Reija Autio, Kristina Kunttu, Minna Kaila

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BACKGROUND: General health checks are an established component of preventive health care in many countries. Declining participation rates have raised concerns in health care providers. Understanding the reasons for attendance and non-attendance is necessary to improve the preventive health care system. The aim of this study was to examine health- and study-related factors associated with university entrants' health check attendance.

METHODS: Since 2009, an electronic health questionnaire (eHQ) has been conducted yearly to all Finnish university entrants by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) to screen students for a general health check. The questionnaire comprises 26 questions about health, health habits and studying. The study population consisted of the 3346 entrants from the 2011-2012 academic year who were referred to a health check based on their eHQ responses. The eHQ data were linked with health check attendance information. Multivariable logistic regression was used to study the associations between the questionnaire responses and non-attendance of the health check.

RESULTS: Male sex (OR 1.6, 95% CI % 1.4-1.9) and low engagement with studies (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2-2.0) were the variables most strongly associated with non-attendance. Having low state of mind was negatively associated with health check non-attendance thus enhanced the health-check attendance (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.5-0.8).

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that providing health checks in student health care may serve as a way of reaching students with health concerns. However, motivating males and smokers to attend general health checks continue to be a challenge also in a university student population. That low engagement with studies associates with health check non-attendance points to need to improve collaboration between universities and student health care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cohort Studies
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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