Body Mass Index and physical activity habits: an observational study on modifiable risk factors for Noncommunicable diseases on students and employees of the University of L'Aquila
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Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Italy
Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1536
Background and Objective: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 74% of all deaths globally. These statistics will worsen in the next years for many reasons, including an increase in physical inactivity and a rise in overweight and obesity. Promotion of healthy lifestyles and prevention are powerful valuable tools to face chronic diseases. They can significantly reduce the risk of developing NCDs by adopting healthy habits, such as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Methods: We selected a sample of 290 employees and 374 students at the University of L’Aquila who were examined for professional risks at the occupational medicine clinic. Data collected included age, sex, regular physical activity (Yes/No), and Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI was categorized into 4 groups: underweight (<18.5), normal weight (18.5-24.9), overweight (25-29.9), and obesity (>29.9). Results: The average age was 25.0 years for students (male: female ratio 1:1) and 54.6 years for employees (male: female 2:1). In both categories the percentage of those who claimed to perform regular physical activity was similar (students: 63.5%, employees: 60.2%); males did more physical activity than females (68.3% vs 56.9%, p=0.003). 15.0% of students and 42.6% of employees were overweight/obese, and there was a significant difference in the categories of BMI regarding age (p<0.0001). In the whole sample, obesity prevalence was 4.4% in those claiming to perform regular physical activity, and 7.9% in those claiming not to perform regular physical activity (p<0.0001). Moreover, males were more often overweight/obese (40.4%) than females (17.7%) (p<0.0001). According to multinomial logistic regression, being male and older exposes to a greater risk of higher BMI. Conclusions: Promoting healthy lifestyles needs to cover all the modifiable behavioural risk factors to act effectively on intermediate risk factors, such as being overweight, for NCDs. Physicians should use all medical examinations to give education on healthy lifestyles.
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