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Original Research

Prevalence and Determinants of Overweight and Obesity among Medical Students

Evelyn Thomas, Geethadevi M.

Background: Obesity is one of the major lifestyle disorders in India and its incidence has rapidly increased during recent decades. Medical students are more prone for obesity, due to, their sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, disordered eating habits, increased stress, and vast topics to learn.

Aims and Objectives: The objectives of the present study were to find the prevalence of overweight/obesity among medical students, identify the contributing/associated factors, and assess the risk of comorbidities in them.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was done among 330 medical students aged 1825 years. Height, weight, and waist circumference were measured. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated. International physical activity questionnaire was used to assess physical activity. Dietary habits such as regular/irregular diet, vegetarian/non-vegetarian, eating speed, frequency of consumption of fried snacks, and fast food and sleep duration were also assessed. Based on waist circumference, the risk of comorbidities was also assessed.

Results: Increased prevalence of overweight/obesity (30.6%) was obtained among medical students. Statistically significant increase in the prevalence of generalized obesity was noted in males compared to females. However, waist circumference showed a statistically significant increase in females. There was no significant association between dietary factors, sleep, and physical activity with BMI.

Conclusion: Medical students have a high prevalence of obesity and are thus more prone for obesity-related risks. This study might create a self-awareness among the medical students to adopt healthy lifestyles such as regular exercise, less frequent consumption of fast food, and thus assure that they have reduced cardiovascular risks.

Key words: Overweight; Obesity; Medical Students; Waist Circumference

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