Understanding the lifestyle factors associated with obesity is critical to creating a successful intervention that would prevent or reduce the obesity beforehand. However, these factors have not been assessed among Nepalese youths thus far. This study aims to determine the prevalence of obesity and to explore the potential lifestyle risk factors in young university students of Nepal.

The researchers included in the study 384 young students aged between 17 and 24 years, pursuing medicine at Tribhuvan University, Institute of Medicine, in this cross-sectional study.

self-administered questionnaire to collect information about age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, meat consumption, fast-food consumption, and sedentary lifestyle was employed. Anthropometric measurements were taken to calculate body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).

BMI and WHR

This study revealed that the current, episodic heavy alcohol consumers, current cigarette smokers, and individuals with a sedentary lifestyle had a statistically significant higher BMI and WHR as compared to age and gender-matched healthy subjects.

Meat consumers as well had a statistically significant higher BMI. However, there has been no statistically significant difference in BMI and WHR in those who consume fast food from those who don’t.

Prevalence of obesity

Our study shows a high prevalence of obesity among young university students of Nepal, making it necessary to develop effective preventive measures to reduce their exposure to the risk factors associated with obesity.

Early interventions to encourage lifestyle changes can be a worthwhile and effective strategy to prevent and/or reduce the risks for the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and other comorbidities.

Obesity is again in body weight, conditioned by the accumulation of excessive body fat, significantly above the norms set for specific ages, races, and sexes, and exceeding the physiological needs and adaptability of the human body.

 Anthropometric measurements are still famous for estimating the degree of body fattening. Among these, BMI is most frequently used, especially in population surveys. Other variables, such as the WHR indicate abdominal fat distribution. These ratios can be useful for an evaluation of the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Our study found that current episodic heavy alcohol consumers had statistically significantly higher BMI and WHR. Wannamethee SG et al. found that in men, drinking > 21 drinks per week was associated with higher BMI or WHR compared to non-drinkers.

Based on the fact that 1 gram of alcohol provides 7.1 kcal (29 kJ) and studies showing that energy consumed as alcohol is additive to that from other dietary sources, increased energy intake with alcohol use can certainly promote a positive energy balance and ultimately weight gain.

Alcohol has also been shown to impact some hormones linked to satiety, such as inhibiting the effects of leptin.