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Boo NY, Chia GJQ, Wong LC, Chew RM, Chong W, Loo RCN
Correspondence: Prof Nem-Yun Boo, email@example.com
Introduction This study aimed to determine the prevalence of obesity among medical students and its relationship with their dietary intake and physical activities.
Methods This observational study was carried out on 240 medical students during the clinical phase of their medical course in a private medical school. Their body weight and height were measured, and a standardised questionnaire was used to collect information on their physical activities and dietary intake.
Results The median body weight of the participants was 59.0 kg (interquartile range: 51.3–66.8), the mean body height was 166.1 cm (standard deviation [SD] 8.5 cm), and the mean body mass index (BMI) was 21.8 kg/m2 (SD 3.4 kg/m2). Based on the World Health Organization BMI cut-offs for the Asian population, 30.1 percent (n is equal to 72) of the students were overweight or obese, with a BMI that was equal to or greater than 23.0 kg/m2. Logistic regression analysis showed that, after controlling for various potential confounders, the only significant risk factors associated with overweight/obesity among these students were: male gender (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.1; 95 percent confidence intervals [CI] of 1.1 and 4.1; p is equal to 0.03), Malay ethnic group (adjusted OR 2.4; 95 percent CI 1.0 and 5.7; p is equal to 0.04), Indian ethnic group (adjusted OR 3.6; 95 percent CI 1.5 and 8.9; p is equal to 0.005), and the number of soft drinks consumed per week (adjusted OR 1.3; 95 percent CI 1.0 and 1.5; p is equal to 0.02). Skipping breakfast, the frequency of physical exercise per week, the number of hours of sleep per day, and eating noodles or roti canai (a type of Malaysian pancake) for breakfast were not significant risk factors.
Conclusion Obesity remains a common problem among medical students in their clinical years.
Keywords: medical students, obesity, risk factors, soft drinks
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(2): 126-132