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Tobacco abuse and physical activity among medical students


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Objective This lifestyle is mainly determined during childhood and connected with poor public prophylactic health policy. The aim of this study was to estimate physical activity and level of tobacco abuse, as well as knowledge about health behaviours, among medical students. Methods Questionnaires were completed by Polish (243) and foreign medical students (80). Results It was stated that about 20% of the students smoked cigarettes. Female students from Norway took up smoking significantly more often than other participants, whereas there were more smokers among those from Poland. There was a significantly larger percentage of smoking males from Norway than among male Polish students. The same students presented a low level of physical activity. The smallest level of physical activity was characteristic of the Polish women. Conclusion This situation requires an intensification of activities aimed at supporting pro-health lifestyles and the elimination of unfavourable effects, especially among medical students.



Published by
Published 01 January 2009
Reads 9
Language English
Eur J Med Res (2009) 14(Suppl. IV): 86-89
December 7, 2009
© I. Holzapfel Publishers 2009
1 12 31 A. Gawlikowska-Sroka , E. Dzieciolowska , J. Szczurowski , E. Kamienska , F. Czerwinski
1 Department ofNormal and Clinical Anatomy, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland; 2 Department ofAnthropology, Wroclaw University, Wroclaw, Poland; 3 Clinic ofPediatrics, Hematology and Oncology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland
Abstractbillion people in the world are affected by tobacco Objective:This lifestyle is mainly determined duringproducts. It is the most dangerous risk factor for childhood and connected with poor public prophylac-preterm mortality in highhealth and the main cause of tic health policy. The aim ofthis study was to estimateincome countries [6]. The majority oftobacco smokers physical activity and level oftobacco abuse, as well asstart smoking in adolescence; 50% ofthese young peo-knowledge about health behaviours, among medicalple become heavy smokers within 16-20 years [7, 8]. students.to-this study was to estimate the levels ofThe aim of Methods:Questionnaires were completed by Polishbacco abuse and knowledge about the risks connected (243) and foreign medical students (80).with tobacco smoking, as well as the level ofphysical Results:the studentsIt was stated that about 20% ofactivity among medical students ofthe Polish and smoked cigarettes. Female students from Norway tookEnglish study programme at the Pomeranian Medical up smoking significantly more often than other partic-University in Szczecin. The research gives an opportu-ipants, whereas there were more smokers among thosenity to determine trends and to compare Poland with from Poland. There was a significantly larger percent-other countries, as well as to provide help in designing age ofsmoking males from Norway than among malestrategies for health-oriented education that could lead Polish students. The same students presented a lowto an improvement in the health of young people [1, 9]. level ofphysical activity. The smallest level ofphysical activity was characteristic ofthe Polish women.MATERIAL ANDMETHODS Conclusion:This situation requires an intensification of activitiesaimed at supporting pro-health lifestylesThe study was approved by a local Ethics Committee. and the elimination ofunfavourable effects, especiallyThe study was conducted in 2007 and included stu-among medical students.dents ofthe Medical and Dentistry Faculties, as well as first-year students ofthe English Program at the Key words:Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, Poland.health promotion, physical activity, respira-tory diseases, smokingQuestionnaires were completed by Polish medical stu-dents (66 males, 177 females) and foreign medical stu-INTRODUCTIONdents (28 males, 52 females). The foreign students were mainly from Norway, while a few ofthem were Human health is determined by lifestyle by as much asfrom Sweden and Germany. 50%. This lifestyle develops and evolves during theA survey questionnaire ofthe authors’ own design, whole oflife, but adolescence is ofthe greatest impor-composed ofopen and multi-choice questions, was tance due to striving ofyoung people during that timeused in the study. Our questionnaire was prepared for independence and self-reliance, the intensive searchbased on an international standard questionnaire from for their own identity and values, and the changing ofthe HBSC study (Health Behaviour in School-Aged the person’s selfimage [1]. The end-stage ofadoles-Children: A WHO Collaborative cross-national study) cence falls at the time ofsecondary school completion[10], D. Goldberg’s GHQ-12 scale (General Heath and the taking up ofuniversity studies. Therefore, it isQuestionnaire) [11] and E. S. Huebner’s scale (Stu-important that they enter this period with the rightdent’s Life Satisfaction Scale, 1991) [12]. habits for a healthy lifestyle which will be positively strengthened [1]. In Poland, data show a decrease inRESULTS physical activity, and negative changes regarding drink-ing and smoking habits. Tobacco smoking is one ofNumerous deficiencies in pro-health behaviour were the most important risk factors in many diseases ofthethe students smoked cigarettes.found. About 20% of developed world. It leads to tumours ofthe lung andThere was a significant difference between Polish and larynx, oral cancer, circulatory system diseases, lungforeign students. Female students from Norway at-obturation, sleep disorders and others [2, 3, 4, 5]. Ac-tempted to take up smoking significantly more often cording to the World Health Organisation, about 1.1than other groups, whereas there were more smokers