Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 138  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 515-522

Effect of body mass index on physical self concept, cognition & academic performance of first year medical students

Department of Physiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Shivani Agarwal
Department of Physiology, Maulana Azad Medical College ,University of Delhi, Delhi 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 24434258

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Background & objectives: The relationship between obesity and self perception, particularly in children and young adults has important implications for physical and psychosocial health and well-being. A better understanding of this relationship could help target psychology services and public health strategies more effectively. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of body mass index (BMI) on physical self concept and cognition of the first year medical undergraduate students in a medical college in north India. The relationship between physical self concept and academic performance and presence of any gender differences were also examined. Methods: The study was carried out on 18-21 yr old first year M.B.B.S. students of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India. Physical self concept was assessed using short version of Physical Self Description Questionnaire (PSDQ-S) which is a psychometrically strong instrument for measuring multiple dimensions of physical self-concept. Cognition was assessed by P300 evoked potentials and academic performance was evaluated on the basis of marks obtained in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry subjects. Results: There was no association between BMI and physical self-concept or between BMI and cognition. Gender differences on physical self-concept were also insignificant. No correlation was seen between physical self-concept and academic performance. Interpretation & conclusion: The present results suggest that negative consequences of high body mass index on physical self-concept and cognition are not seen in young adults. It may be that academic achievement nullifies the effect on physical self-concept and the effect on cognition accumulates as the age progresses, therefore, appears later in life.

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