A cross-sectional Study on the Dietary Factors and their Association with Body Mass Index among Undergraduate Medical Students in a Medical College

International Journal of Research in Health Sciences,2014,2,2,591-598.
Published:April 2014
Type:Original Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Chandani Ashok Kumar1, Niroop Revannasiddaiah 2, Arun Gopi 3, Vrushabhendra Halevoor Nanjundappa4

1Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, 2Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, 3Bio Statistician, Department of Community Medicine. 4Professor and HOD, Department of Community Medicine, Sri Venkateshwara Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Pondicherry.

1, 2& 3PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA.


Background: The alarming rise in overweight and obesity among young adults which forms a key link to the upsurge of other non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, stroke and myocardial infarction is a major concern. These diseases though have a complex aetiology, can be easily prevented by adopting healthy dietary and lifestyle habits. Since behaviours are formed in the early years of life, this study assessed the dietary habits of medical students and its association with BMI. Material and methods: Cross sectional study which included all the students in a medical college. Data was collected using pre tested questionnaire from 613 students after taking informed consent. Height and weight of the students was measured and BMI was calculated. Results: Only 58.9% and 43.7% of the students consumed diet adequate in calories and proteins respectively. Female students’ diet was more deficient in proteins (62.2% v/s 49.5%). Majority of the students snacked once a day (73%); junk food consumption was reported by 9.1% of the students daily. Approximately 56% students skipped meals; breakfast was the common missed meal. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 8% and 1.5% respectively. Statistically significant association was found between BMI and age, MBBS academic years, calorie intake and meal skipping. Conclusion: Dietary habits of medical students in this study were found to be unhealthy and there was a significant association with BMI. There is a need to create awareness and interest regarding healthy diet and body weight management among this future physician population

Distribution of study population according to BMI (n=613)