Nutritional and health status of medical students at a university in Northwestern Saudi Arabia
Saudi Medical Journal
To assess the nutrition and health status, nutrients intake, and physical activity among Saudi medical students. A cross-sectional survey using a questionnaire, anthropometric measurements, and laboratory assessments was conducted from January to May 2011 on 194 randomly selected Saudi medical students at Taibah University, Madinah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The adequacy of nutrient intake was compared with the recommended daily intake (RDI) per the National Research Council. Caloric intake was
... Caloric intake was derived from carbohydrates (72.1%), fats (19.4%) and proteins (8.4%). Proteins and fats were obtained from a greater number of animal sources than of plant sources (5.3% versus 3.2% for proteins and 11.6% versus 7.8% for fats). There were low percentages of RDI of fibers (8.5%), most vitamins especially vitamin D (14.2%), and minerals (potassium (31.3%), zinc (40.7%), magnesium (24.5%), and calcium (47%). Overall, 34.5% of the students were overweight, and 10.3% were obese. Dyslipidemia was diagnosed in 24.7%, and 56.2% had high high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). There was a positive correlation between the median caloric intake and both the BMI (r=0.42, p=0.00) and hs-CRP (r=0.3, p=0.001). Inactivity was prevalent among the students (64.4%). This study showed deficiencies in several essential nutrients among medical students, and the prevalence of overweight status, obesity, and inactivity were relatively high. These results indicate the need to improve nutrition and promote healthy lifestyles among the medical students.