Volume 65, Issue 8 (3 2007)                   Tehran Univ Med J 2007, 65(8): 79-84 | Back to browse issues page

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Abstract:   (7073 Views)
Background: As future health care providers, medical students should be aware of the relationship between health and physical fitness, giving them an advantage toward attaining proper physical fitness. The exercise and fitness habits of first-year medical students in Iran are not known. This study examines the relationship between the body mass index (BMI) of an unselected group of first-year medical students and their personal physical fitness.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 513 first-year medical students were evaluated. BMI, skin folds (triceps, biceps, suprailiac and subscapular) and physical fitness were assessed in all students. Fitness was evaluated by the Eurofit test, which included body composition, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscular endurance, muscular strength, power, balance and agility. The software SPSS (version 11) and Pearson's correlation were used for statistical analysis.
Results: The group surveyed was 67.8% female and 32.2% male, and 97.2% were entering medical school in 2004. The mean weight of the students was 60.1 kg, mean height was 163.9 cm and the mean BMI was 22.3 kg/m2. Underweight status (BMI<20) was observed in 27.1% of the subjects, 16.1% were overweight (2530). Overweight and obesity in males was higher than in females. The total physical fitness score in female students was better than that of male students. We found a negative correlation between physical fitness and weight, BMI, body fat and wrist to hip ratio in both genders. In addition, a positive correlation exits between hip circumference and physical fitness in both groups.
Conclusions: This study suggests that academically competitive premedical students may not be involved in physical activity. Medical students should be encouraged to maintain a good BMI and perform physical exercise.
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