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Assessment of perceived stress levels among medical students and their dietary intake and lifestyle during second wave of covid-19 pandemic

Author: 
Katkam Niharika and Ragavi, M.
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

BACKGROUND: “Stress is a response that embodies a range of integrative physiological and behavioral processes that occur when there is a real or perceived threat to homeostasis.” A stressor is a stimulus that causes stress. According to various research findings, medical students tend to perceive stress more than other populations their age. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic may pose a major challenge for medical students' learning and also have a profound effect on their psychological well-being. Furthermore, the relationship between stress, diet, and nutrition is complex, and experimental research varies widely. OBJECTIVE(S): Study objectives include determining the prevalence of stress among medical students during the second wave of COVID-19 and examining its relationship with dietary intake and lifestyle. METHOD: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted on 69 undergraduate medical students of JSS Medical College, Mysore during February 2021 to April 2021 using Medical Student Stress Questionnaire (MSSQ) to assess stress levels and a pre-designed semi-structured questionnaire which consists of Socio-Demographic details; Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ); 3 day’s 24-hour dietary recall to know the consumption pattern and average intake of nutrients after taking their informed consent and Institutional Ethical Committee approval. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software. RESULTS: Out of 69 students, 41 are female and 28 are male. MSSQ analysis revealed that the high prevalence of stress is due to academic related stressors (60.5%) followed by group activity related (45.25%), intrapersonal and interpersonal related (41.5%), teaching and learning related (35.5%), social related (33%), and drive & desire related stressors (28.25%). From FFQ and dietary recall analysis, it was observed low energy intake and high-fat consumption was associated with high-stress levels. CONCLUSION: Stress and Diet can be consideredas a two-edged sword that is stress may alter dietary intake and dietary intake may also alter stress levels. In the study conducted, stress appears to alter the overall food intake in different ways and vice-versa, with some consuming fast foods more often and while some skipping the meals, some are under-eating and some are overeating. So identifying the predisposing factors that stimulate stress levels might help in designing specific programs to reduce stress levels atleast to a certain extent.

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