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Impact of unhealthy lifestyle on cardiorespiratory fitness and heart rate recovery of medical science students

Fan, L. M., Collins, A., Geng, L. and Li, J.-M. (2020) Impact of unhealthy lifestyle on cardiorespiratory fitness and heart rate recovery of medical science students. BMC Public Health, 20 (1). 1012. ISSN 1471-2458

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-09154-x


Background: Medical science students represent valuable labour resources for better future medicine and medical technology. However, little attention was given to the health and well-being of these early career medical science professionals. The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of lifestyle components on cardiorespiratory fitness and heart rate recovery measured after moderate exercise in this population. Methods: Volunteers without documented medical condition were recruited randomly and continuously from the first-year medical science students during 2011-2014 at the University of Surrey, UK. Demographics and lifestyle components (the levels of smoking, alcohol intake, exercise, weekend outdoor activity and screen-time, daily sleep period, and self-assessment of fitness) were gathered through pre-exercise questionnaire. Cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max) and heart rate recovery were determined using Åstrand–Rhyming submaximal cycle ergometry test. Data were analysed using SPSS version 25. Results: Among 614 volunteers, 124 had completed both lifestyle questionnaire and the fitness test and were included for this study. Within 124 participants (20.6±4 years), 46.8% were male and 53.2% were female, 11.3% were overweight and 8.9% were underweight, 8.9% were current smokers and 33.1% consumed alcohol beyond the UK recommendation. There were 34.7% of participants admitted to have <3 h/week of moderate physical activity assessed according to UK Government National Physical Activity Guidelines and physically not fit (feeling tiredness). Fitness test showed that VO2max distribution was inversely associated with heart rate recovery at 3 min and both values were significantly correlated with the levels of exercise, self-assessed fitness and BMI. Participants who had <3h/week exercise, or felt not fit or were overweight had significantly lower VO2max and heart rate recovery than their peers. Conclusion: One in three new medical science students were physically inactive along with compromised cardiorespiratory fitness and heart rate recovery, which put them at risk of cardiometabolic diseases. Promoting healthy lifestyle at the beginning of career is crucial in keeping medical science professionals healthy.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR)
Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
ID Code:91462
Publisher:Springer Nature


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