Introduction In developed and developing countries young people are at increased risk of obesity. Obesity is associated with chronic disease including Type II Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Body mass index (BMI) is commonly used to measure obesity. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of overweight among medical students in Nepal according to sex, ethnicity and diet (vegetarian/non-vegetarian).
Methods Approval for the study was obtained from the institutional research ethical committee. Participants were recruited from Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal. BMI (kg/m2) was calculated using the height and weight. Data were analysed using Microsoft Excel (Windows 2003) and SPSS 16.
Results Of the 311 participants 179 (57.6%) were Nepalese, 97 (31.2%) Indian and 35 (11.2%) Srilankan. 72% were males and 28% females. 80.1% were non-vegetarians and 19.9% were vegetarians. Overall 28.7% of subjects were overweight; 33% of Nepalese participants, 17.5% of Indian participants and 20% of Srilankans participants. 34.4% of men and 6.9% of women were overweight. 26.9% of non-vegetarian and 25.8% of vegetarian participants were overweight.
Conclusion In medical students in Nepal, gender, ethnicity and diet were associated with being overweight. Obesity prevention should focus on physical activity and diet.
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