MALNUTRITION AMONG MEDICAL STUDENTS IN NORTH KERALA
Veena Money*, Jesha M. M., Sheela P. Haveri, Sebastian N. M. and Arya S. Nath
College students are highly vulnerable to malnourishment as during transition to independent living they make their own food choices, irregular routines, physical inactivity due to academic burden and lack of time. This leads to imbalanced diet. Studies conducted among medical students world over revealed the indifferent attitude towards lifestyle related diseases, healthy food habits and physical activity. OBJECTIVE: To assess nutritional status of medical students and the main associated factors. METHOD: A cross sectional study was conducted among MBBS students in MES Medical College, Perinthalmanna during February – March 2016. Those not willing to participate or taking drugs which may contribute to overweight/obesity were excluded. BMI was calculated and details like physical activity, junk food consumption and stress were assessed. RESULTS: Among 492 medical students, 63.2% were females and 36.8% males. 18.5% were overweight; 2.64% obese and 14.02% underweight. All reported being stressed; 88.6% reported junk food consumption and 59.9% were physically inactive. A significant higher proportion of females were underweight and lower proportion were overweight/obesity. A significant association was noted between nutritional status and junk food consumption (9.26 times risk for overweight/obesity). But no significant association was noted between nutritional status and physical activity. CONCLUSION: One-fifth were overweight/obese and one seventh were underweight. Females were at risk for becoming underweight. Significant association was noted between nutritional status and junk food consumption but not physical activity.
Keywords: Malnutrition, Obesity, Overweight, Underweight, BMI, Medical students.
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