Relationship of Body Mass Index with Diet, Physical Activities, and Lifestyles of Dental Students

J Contemp Dent Pract. 2017 Oct 1;18(10):899-904. doi: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-2146.


Introduction: The objective of the study was to investigate the prevalence of overweight issues and obesity by recording the body mass index (BMI) and explore the dietary habits, physical activities (PAs), and lifestyles of male students at the College of Dentistry, King Saud University.

Materials and methods: A custom-designed self-administrative form and questionnaire were used in this study for data collection. The first part of the form was used to record the participants' height and weight for the BMI. The participants were grouped as underweight (BMI < 18.5), normal weight (BMI = 18.5-24.9), overweight (BMI = 25-29.9), and obese (BMI > 30.0). The second part comprised questions related to the dietary habits, PAs, and lifestyles of the male dental students. Chi-squared test was used to generate the significance of each question at significance <0.05.

Results: A total of 211 male students (mean age 22.31 ± 2.10 years) participated in the study (response rate 78.1%). The findings revealed that 29 and 28% of the dental students were overweight and obese respectively. A statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) between the groups was found for the questions asked about time spent exercising per day (p = 0.003), time spent sporting per week (p = 0.003), and time spent watching television and internet surfing per day (p = 0.012).

Conclusion: The prevalence of overweight issues and obesity is high among the dental students compared with the general population of Saudi Arabia, and there is a need for intervention programs to combat obesity among the dental students. The awareness about PA, healthy diet/lifestyle, consequences of overweight and obesity on their health and profession must be increased among the dental students to avoid future complications.

Clinical significance: The impact of obesity on individuals' oral health and its influence on dental treatment protocols and postoperative procedures has been well documented. Dental students are more prone to obesity due to their lifestyle with less PA and disordered eating habits and, thereby, are prone to obesity-related health hazards.

Keywords: Body mass index; Dental students; Obesity; Physical activity Questionnaire..

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Students, Dental / psychology
  • Students, Dental / statistics & numerical data*
  • Thinness / epidemiology
  • Young Adult