Nutritional status and eating disorders among medical students from the Cluj-Napoca University centre
Background and aims. The nutritional disorders are modifiable predisposing factors of the current leading causes of morbidity and premature mortality, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancers. An early recognition of appropriate interventions could decrease the burden of medical costs and increase the healthy life expectancy. The aims of our study were the description of nutritional status, its associated factors, and the detection of eating disorders among Romanian medical students of the “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca.
Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted during the 2015-2016 academic year, including medical students from all study years, by an online questionnaire. The statistics, both descriptive and inferential, were calculated using EpiInfo.
Results. A total of 222 students from the University Romanian section were included, with a sex-ratio (men:women) of 0.22. The average body mass index of the medical students included was 21.3±3.3 kg/m2, for females it was 20.7±3 kg/m2 and for males 23.9±3.1 kg/m2. For the nutritional disorders such as overweight, the prevalence among males (30%) had a net predominance (p<0.001) over females (4.4%), while for underweight, it was prevalent only for female students (20.3%). Overweight was associated with low academic performance (odds ratio (OR)=7.2; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1-53.94), smoking (OR=2.4; 95% CI: 1-5.76) and binge drinking (OR=3; 95% CI: 1.26-7.25). Eating disorders were reported by 25.7% of the students and were significantly more prevalent in students in the second academic study cycle (47.4%; 95% CI: 34.7-60.3%) and in students with jobs (7%; 95% CI: 2.3-16.1%).
Conclusions. In this survey, two different distribution models of nutritional disorders for both genders were identified, with the predominance of overweight among men. Eating disorders were more prevalent among students in the second study cycle and those with jobs at the same time.