Changes in Physical Fitness and Anthropometric of Medical Cadets Over Their Study Period in Phramongkutklao College of Medicine

Phunphen Napradit, Panadda Hatthachote
Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 2016, 99 (12): 1360-6

Objective: To assess changes in physical fitness level and anthropometric characteristics of medical cadets in Phramongkutklao College of Medicine (PCM).

Material and Method: A prospective study was conducted in 73 male and 20 female medical cadets at PCM during their study through medical education between April 2008 and July 2012. Anthropometric measurement and physical fitness test were performed at initial, preclinical year, and clinical year including body weight, height, waist-hip circumference, body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio (WHR), waist-height ratio (WHtR), % body fat, grip and leg strength, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), 2-minute push-ups, 2-minute sit-ups, and 2-kilometer run for time.

Results: Through the course of medical education, significant increase (p<0.05) in body weight, height, waist circumference, hip circumference, BMI, WHR, WHtR, and % body fat were detected. The increments in body weight and BMI in males were greater than in females. When compared to initial fitness, medical cadets in preclinical year could improve physical fitness variables with statistical significance reported in VO2 max, numbers of push-ups, sit-ups, and 2-kilometer run. When compared to preclinical year, VO2max was significant decreased and run time was significant increased in clinical year (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Male medical cadets tended to gain more weight over the four years spent at PCM. Health-related physical fitness of medical cadet improved in preclinical year and cardiorespiratory fitness declined in clinical year. To establish motivation to have regular physical activity in medical student, physical fitness test and anthropometric measurement should be integrated into the medical student’s curriculum.

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