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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 172-177

Dietary habits and physical activity among medical students of a teaching hospital in South India: A descriptive analysis

Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Chythra R Rao
Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Manipal - 576 104, Karnataka
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DOI: 10.4103/1119-0388.185450

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Context: Among the college population, it is assumed that medical students have better knowledge about healthy lifestyle and dietary practices when compared to other students. However, there is no evidence to indicate that this knowledge translates into practice in terms of maintaining good health. Also, medical students have been known to exhibit early risk factors for chronic diseases. Aim: To assess dietary practices and physical activity among medical students. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was done among 438 medical students from a teaching hospital in South India. A predesigned questionnaire was used to assess diet and current physical activity levels [using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short version] among consenting medical students. Statistical Analysis Used: Data were analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 15.0 from SPSS South Asia Bangalore, India. Chi-square test was used for univariate analysis. Results: Among 438 medical students, 97% were aware of balanced diet, but only 42.9% were following it. Nearly, 9.4% of students consumed junk foods everyday. Compared to the previous year, junk food intake had increased in 40.4% and fruit intake had decreased in 50% of students. Significant association was noted between overweight and obesity and daily consumption of junk foods. Over 95% of students were physically active. In comparison to the previous year, nearly 67% of students had increased their physical activity by walking. Conclusions: Although unhealthy eating habits were prevalent among medical students, practice of physical activity was good. It is, therefore, essential to identify and take corrective actions to promote healthy lifestyle practices.

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