Practice of Physical Activity Among Future Doctors: A Cross Sectional Analysis

Chythra Rao, BB Darshan, Nairita Das, Vinaya Rajan, Meemansha Bhogun, Aditya Gupta


Background: Non communicable diseases (NCD) will account for 73% of deaths and 60% of the global disease burden by 2020. Physical activity plays a major role in the prevention of these non‑communicable diseases. The stress involved in meeting responsibilities of becoming a physician may adversely affect the exercise habits of students. So, the current study aimed to study the practice of physical activity among undergraduate medical students.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among 240 undergraduate medical students. Quota sampling method was used to identify 60 students from each of the four even semesters. A pre‑tested, semi‑structured questionnaire was used to collect the data. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16 was used for data entry and analysis and results are expressed as percentages and proportions.

Results: In our study, 55% were 20 to 22 years old. Over half of the students were utilizing the sports facilities provided by the university in the campus. Majority of students 165 (69%) had normal body mass index (BMI), (51) 21% were overweight, while 7 (3%) were obese. Of the 62% who were currently exercising, the practice of physical activity was more among boys as compared to girls (62% v/s 38%). Lack of time 46 (60.5%), laziness (61.8%), and exhaustion from academic activities (42%) were identified as important hindering factors among medical students who did not exercise.

Conclusion: A longitudinal study to follow‑up student behavior throughout their academic life is needed to identify the factors promoting the practice of physical activity among students.

Keywords: Body mass index; lack of time; medical students; physical activity; stamina.

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