Prevalence of multiple behavioral risk factors for chronic diseases in medical students and associations with their academic performance
- 13 Downloads
Multiple behavioral risk factors (MBRFs) related to lifestyle have been associated with non-communicable diseases, but there is limited evidence on their prevalence in undergraduate medical students and their association with academic performance.
During 1989–2017, data from 1447 medical students of the University of Crete, Greece (mean age 21.8 ± 2.2 years), were analyzed. MBRFs assessed included smoking, high body weight, physical inactivity, risky alcohol consumption and low consumption of fruits and vegetables. Academic performance was based on the grades received in the mandatory Clinical Nutrition course and the overall medical degree (scale of 0–10).
Of the sample, 25.8% were smokers, 30.7% had high body weight, and 67.2% had low consumption of fruits and vegetables. Prevalence of having ‘no MBRFs’ and having ‘multiple clustering’ and ‘3+ factors’ was 15.8% and 12.3%, respectively. Men had almost twice the prevalence of multiple clustering compared with women (16.5% vs. 8.4%, p < 0.001). Participants who had none compared with 3+ MBRFs had higher mean grades in the Clinical Nutrition course (6.34 vs. 5.94, p = 0.027, p = 0.003) and overall degree (7.39 vs. 7.22, p = 0.021, p = 0.002). As the number of MBRFs increased (from ‘none’ to ‘1,’ ‘2’ and ‘3+’ factors), the proportion of graduates receiving a distinction also decreased (6.1%, 3.3%, 3.3% and 0.0%, respectively, p = 0.001).
Overall, high prevalence of MBRFs was observed in this sample of medical students, while MBRF clustering was prospectively inversely associated with academic performance. These findings highlight the need for preventive lifestyle strategies to improve these students’ behavioral risk factors and academic performance during their studies.
KeywordsBehavioral risk factors Chronic diseases Medical students Academic performance Grades Bachelor
The authors thank all students who participated in this study. We also thank to Mrs. Eleutheria Tzorakis, Olympia Ksilouris and Sofia Flouris for their valuable assistance in data preparation.
Compliance with ethical standards
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethics Committee of the University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece, and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Alamian A, Paradis G (2009) Clustering of chronic disease behavioral risk factors in Canadian children and adolescents. Prev Med 48:493–499. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.02.015S0091-7435(09)00113-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Anderson A, Good D (2017) Increased body weight affects academic performance in university students. Prev Med Rep 5:220–223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.12.020S2211-3355(16)30172-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Burrows LT, Whatnall CM, Patterson JA, Hutchesson JM (2017) Associations between dietary intake and academic achievement in college students: a systematic review Healthcare 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare5040060
- Fine L, Philogene G, Gramling R, Coups E, Sinha S (2004) Prevalence of multiple chronic disease risk factors. 2001 National Health Interview Survey. Am J Prev Med 27:18–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2004.04.017S0749379704000972 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Klein-Geltink J, Choi B, Fry R (2006) Multiple exposures to smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity and overweight: Prevalences according to the Canadian community health survey cycle 1.1. Chronic Dis Can 27:25–33Google Scholar
- Kvaavik E, Batty GD, Ursin G, Huxley R, Gale CR (2010) Influence of individual and combined health behaviors on total and cause-specific mortality in men and women: the United Kingdom health and lifestyle survey. Arch Intern Med 170:711–718. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2010.76 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Labadarios D, Kafatos A (1991) Teaching of clinical nutrition at the University of Crete, School of Medicine, Greece. Nutrition 7:61–63Google Scholar
- Linardakis M, Papadaki A, Smpokos E, Micheli K, Vozikaki M, Philalithis A (2015) Association of Behavioral Risk Factors for chronic diseases with physical and mental health in European adults aged 50 years or older, 2004-2005 Prev Chronic Dis 12:E149. https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd12.150134
- Lussier Α (2015) How Tobacco Use Could Hinder Your Academic Performance as a College Student? University of New Hampshire https://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/blog/tobacco/2015/10/how-does-tobacco-use-impact-your-academic-performance. Accessed date: 24 July 2018
- Smpokos E, Linardakis M, Papadaki A, Sarri K, Kafatos A (2014) Clustering of chronic disease behavioral risk factors among adolescents in Crete (Greece): associations with biological factors and cardiorespiratory fitness levels. J Public Health 22:433–442. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-014-0629-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Suraya F, Meo S, Almubarak Z, Alqaseem Y (2017) Effect of obesity on academic grades among Saudi female medical students at College of Medicine, King Saud University: Pilot study. J Pak Med Assoc 67:1266–1269 doi:8324Google Scholar
- WHO (2014) Global status report on noncommunicable diseases. “Attaining the nine global noncommunicable diseases targets; a shared responsibility”. GenevaGoogle Scholar