CIRCADIAN PREFERENCES AND ASSOCIATION WITH BODY MASS INDEX: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY AMONG INDIAN MEDICAL UNDERGRADUATES

Main Article Content

Navneet Kumar Kaushik
Anju Sharma
Amandeep Kaur
Jyoti Rana
Pushpa Lamba

Keywords

Chronotype, Indian/South Asian, medical students, mornigness-eveningness preference, overweight/obesity

Abstract

Background: Differences in preference for sleep-wake habit and physical or mental performance across individuals underlies the concept of morningness-eveningness/chronotype. Chronotype have been found to influence diverse aspects of one’s life. To date few studies have explored the morningness-eveningness preferences particularly among Indian student populations.


Aims and objectives: To fill this knowledge gap, the present study was conducted to determine the circadian preferences of Indian medical students. In addition, association between chronotype and body mass index (BMI) was also investigated.


Methods: The study followed cross-sectional, observational design was conducted on 110 apparently healthy medical undergraduates of either gender (82 males, 28 females) at a government medical college in Southern Haryana, India. Demographic and anthropometric information of the participants was collected. A well-validated instrument, Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ), was used to identify participant’s chronotype. Frequency distribution of the sample in relation to chronotype was determined. Association between chronotype and overweight was evaluated using Pearson’s Chi-square test. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Results: The study showed that around two-fifth of the students could be classified as belonging to the two extreme typologies i.e., morning- or evening type. Females exhibited greater predisposition for morningness, though differences were not significant (p = 0.55). Average body mass index (BMI) did not differ significantly across chronotypes; however, association between chronotype and overweight was found to be significant (χ2 = 15.91, p = 0.003). Overweight students were much more likely to be evening-oriented than being morning type in comparison to normal weight participants [Odd’s ratio 95% CI (adjusted for effect of gender): 2.16 (0.82 – 5.71)]


Conclusion: Frequency distribution in relation to chronotype among Indian medical student population is similar to worldwide figures reported in literature, with major fraction of the population belonging to the intermediate/neutral chronotype. Being evening-oriented predisposes to overweight/obesity but this relationship needs to be explored using a multivariate approach to arrive at a definite conclusion.

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