Rehana Rehman, Saif ullah Shaikh, Sadiqa Syed, Nayyab Shakeel


Background: Healthy diets and regular, adequate physical activity are major factors in the
promotion and maintenance of good health throughout entire life course. Accumulation of fat
occurs whenever energy consumed by food and drinks exceeds that which can be utilised by an
individual’s metabolism and physical activity. The objective of this study was to estimate the
effect of lifestyle characteristics of a representative segment of medical students in terms of fast
food preferences and participation in physical activity with respect to Body Mass Index (BMI).
Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out in Physiology Department, Bahria University
Medical & Dental College, Karachi on 192 students of 1st and 2nd year MBBS. Body Mass index
of students was calculated. They were classified into 4 groups with BMI ≤18.5, 18.6–23, 23.1–25
and ≥25 respectively. A life style questionnaire, based on preferences for healthy/unhealthy food,
dietary habits and participation in physical activity was filled. Results: Most of medical students
(65%) had BMI less than 23. It was because of selection of healthy dietary pattern with nutritious
food (p<0.09) and participation in outdoor games (p<0.03). Males who had high BMI showed a
tendency to daily intake of fast food (p<0.03). Walking in both the sexes had a positive impact in
maintaining normal BMI (p= Males<0.04, females<0.001). Conclusion: Obesity can be prevented
by innovative approaches, easiest of which is to promote active life styles with intake of healthy
diet and involvement in physical activity.
Keywords: BMI, obese, overweight

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