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The Prevalence of Underweight, Overweight, Obesity and the Influence of Exercise and Diet on Body Weight among Medical Students

Shalom Kayafa Katuka, Olajumoke C Faleti, Srinivas Medavarapu, Ayooluwa Ogungbite, Chidozie Joseph Ugokwe, Imo Raguel Umoffia

Title: A cross sectional study to determine the prevalence of various weight groups among medical students and to correlate the effects of exercise and diets on the prevalence of various weight groups.

Background: Weight disorders can have an effect on the health status or general well-being of a person. Various health problems have been linked with weight disorders. Those who are underweight have an increased risk of anaemia, heart irregularities or possible disorders of malnutrition, whereas those who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of coronary heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

Methods and Findings: A descriptive cross sectional design was used. The study was conducted at the Simulation lab of All Saints University School of medicine, Dominica. A total number of 100 students (subjects) from PM1 to MD5 were randomly selected to participate in the study within the age range of 15-29. Standard procedures were used to determine the height and weight and the BMI was calculated from the results of the measurements of weight (kg) and height (m) (kg/m2). Questionnaires were also distributed to get additional information about their exercise frequency and major diet content. The result of the study shows a high prevalence of normal weight individuals among the students which was followed by the overweight individuals. It also showed that a large percentage of the students more than average do not engage in any form of exercise and this can lead to high body weight prevalence. The consumption of carbohydrate diet was also high among the students contributing to the high prevalence of high body weight groups among the student.

Conclusion: The effects of lack of exercise coupled with high carbohydrates diet was established as contributing to the high prevalence of overweight and obesity among the student.