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Comparison of the body composition parameters in the adolescent medical and paramedical students in South India

Madhuri Taranikanti, Sanghamitra Panda, Ashok Kumar Dash, Nikhat Yasmeen, Abdul Raoof Omer Siddiqui, Sarada Tiyyagura.

Background: Obesity is currently a global problem not only among the adults but also in the adolescents. The factors contributing to obesity may be metabolic, behavioral, psychological, and sociocultural. In addition, stress is, particularly, important, because it causes an irregular diet pattern and absence of physical activity. Medical curriculum is vast and stressful, with the pressure of examination and high expectations in performance.

Objective: To find out the prevalence of overweight and obesity among the undergraduate medical and paramedical students. An attempt was made to find out the significance of factors influencing body weight such as eating behavior and physical activity levels in a total of 348 students.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 348 female medical and paramedical students in the age group of 18–20 years. Anthropometric measurements and body fat (BF) and total body water (TBW) percentages of all the participants were assessed. A predesigned questionnaire was given to each student to obtain information about their food habits and physical exercise.

Result: The statistics used were mean with SD; percentages were calculated, and the correlation coefficient (r) was determined. The BMI, BF%, waist circumference, and waist–hip ratio were all found to be significantly more in medical students when compared with paramedical students, whereas the TBW was found to be more in the paramedical students.

Conclusion: Obesity was more prevalent in medical students when compared with paramedical students.

Key words: Obesity, body mass index, waist–hip ratio

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