Objective: To screen the effect of medical education on eating and physical activity habits, along with mental health, in medical students.
Materials and Methods: Preclinical (n=659) and clinical (n=336) term medical students were asked to fill in an eating habits questionnaire, a physical activity inquiry, along with a general health state inquiry, and the Beck depression inventory.
Results: Seventy percent of medical students did not care about gaining weight, did not exercise to reduce excess weight, did not even care about the caloric or nutritional content of foods, and lived a sedentary life. The clinical term students (years 4 to 6) preferred all-bran bread, while the preclinical term students (years 1 to 3) had a habit of salt overuse. More clinical students than preclinical ones restricted eating when they realized weight gain. Depressive students usually ate a snack at night, skipped meals, and consumed high-calorie food. Positive eating habits and general healthy behaviors in non-depressive students were more frequent, while the opposite was typical for those who were in depression.
Conclusion: This study suggests that medical education influences eating and physical activity habits necessarily, but nevertheless, medical students show unfavorable eating and physical activity habits, besides frequent depressive symptoms.