This report represents information on the obesity prevalence rate among students at De Montfort University (DMU). The report represents a wide range of information on the diet, physical activity and obesity of DMU students that has been drawn from a number of sources such as questionnaires. The report basically covers the obesity prevalence rates of DMU students by analyzing the physical activity levels of the students, the consumption and purchasing trends in terms of food and drinks and lastly the health outcome of the students in terms of being obese or overweight.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to identify the different health habits that are responsible for obesity among the pre- session students at DMU. This is in order to identify the different diets, physical activity habits and purchasing trends that are responsible for obesity among DMU students. Another purpose of this report is to provide the necessary evidence that can contribute to the formation of a food policy initiative in DMU that will be able to reduce the prevalence rate of obesity in DMU by reducing health inequalities. By doing so, the report will enable students to understand the reasons behind the high rates of obesity among them, the various preventive interventions that evidently work and lastly the effectiveness of this interventions.
Obesity is a term that is used to refer to the excess of body fat in an individual that result to increased weight. Obesity is commonly measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is calculated by dividing an individual's weight by their height. The prevalence of obesity has increased all over the world over the past three decades. The United States and the United Kingdom are the worst hit by the high rates of obesity among young people (Chambers & Wakley 2002, p. 3).
According to reports of obesity prevalence rates, obesity begins in the early stages of a child's development however it is still a concern for the adult population in today's developing nations where life style changes are constantly taking place due to globalization among other positive developments that come with hidden challenges (Carr 2005, p 103).
Obesity today is responsible for a number of chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, arthritis and respiratory problems. Obesity problems are not unique to a certain group of individuals globally as the existence of this disease indicates some degree of irresponsible eating habits, societal factors for instance convenient engineering and technology in food production and to a certain extent cultural and social forces that have defined lifestyle in today's society (Shetty 2002, p. 9).
The study will utilize primary data collection methods such as survey questionnaires. This study will utilize data acquired from the pre-session students of De Montfort University through issuing questionnaires to students. The study will issue a total of 142 questionnaires aimed at collecting data on the prevalence of obesity in De Montfort University. The aim of the questionnaires will be to collect data on various obesity related questions for instance the current weight and height of the respondents, the diet of respondent especially in relation to fatty foods such as chocolate and snacks, the frequency the respondent takes the unhealthy foods, the physical activities the respondent engages in and the frequency of exercise related activities and lastly the hereditary nature of the respondents obesity problem. All this data will be collected with the aim of calculating the prevalence of obesity in De Montfort University in terms of age and gender.
The study carried out statistical analysis using data analysis software on the categorical questionnaire in order to describe the resulting data obtained from the questionnaires. Statistical analysis analyzed categorical variables that were presented by the questionnaires to produce summary statistics, figures, and regression models. The results indicated the different cell frequencies and percentages for the respondents for each question. The questions being analyzed included subgroups among the study population for instance a case and a control study group based on the obese status of the correspondent including family members to whom specific questions applied.
Results and discussion
The results of the questionnaire data on age indicated that majority of the respondents at De Montfort University comprised of individuals between the ages 20-25 which represented 39% of the total correspondents in the study. The second highest group of respondents was 34% which represented respondents over age 30. The least represented group was for students under age twenty which represented only 1% of the correspondents.
In terms of the gender, most respondents were male which represented 66%of all the respondents. Female respondents only represented 34%. In terms of the body weight of the respondents, the highest weight was 120kg while the lowest weight was 33 kg. The average weight for respondents was 72 kg. In terms of height, the tallest respondent was 185cm tall while the shortest respondent was 146cm tall. The average height of the respondents was 169cm. The respondents' response on whether obesity was common in the family was generally negative. 75% of the respondents did not have an obesity history in their families. Only 25% of the respondents had obese family members.
Figure 1: Respondent against answer
In regards to diet, 46% of the respondents preferred a healthy diet of vegetables and fruits. Only 15% of the respondents preferred fast foods which are known to cause obesity. 31% of the respondents preferred red meat while the remaining 8% preferred sweet foods. The responses were favorable considering the preference for healthy foods. The frequency of respondents of partaking snacks like chocolate was favorable as most respondents took chocolate once per week. Only 13% of the respondents ate chocolate daily which was a small percentage. The daily uptake of fizzy drinks was high at 49%which indicated an unsuitable intake of unhealthy drinks.
Majority of the correspondents take 3 meals daily which was represented by 555 of all the respondents. Only 16 percent of the respondents took more than 3 meals daily. This was a favorable trend as the more times an individual feeds daily, the higher the chances of being obese. In terms of physical activity, only 5% of the respondents watched television for more than 6 hours. Most of the respondents (38%) watched television for a maximum of two hours daily. In terms of sleep, most respondents in the study slept less than 8 hours daily which represented 42% of all respondents. Only 19% of the respondents slept for more than 8 hours daily.
In terms of exercise hours per week for the correspondents, 42% of the correspondents exercise daily for one to three hours which represented majority of the respondents.40% of the correspondents on the other hand did not do any kind of exercise daily. Only 1% of the correspondents did exercise for more than 8 hours daily. In terms of how the respondents travelled to the university, majority of the respondents traveled on foot (76%). Only 20% of the respondents used a car to go to the university. None of the respondents in the study cycled to school.
In terms of the body mass index (BMI), a value of above 30 normally indicated an obese individual. From the study, 18 respondents out of the 88 were obese as their BMI value was more than 30. This represented 20% of individuals.
Figure 2: Respondent BMI chart
Conclusion and recommendation
In conclusion, the prevelence rate of obesity in De Montfort University is relatively high. Considering that 20% of the respondents in the study had a BMI of above 30, this can be taken to indicate that approximately 20% of the students in De Montfort University are obese which is high. The obesity rate can be attributed mainly to eating habits, for instance the study showed that a significant number of students prefer unhealthy diets such as red meat. Also most of the students were not physically active as indicated by daily exercise levels and hours of television each respondent spent daily. A shocking trend with obese respondents was that their lifestyle was most unhealthy involving unhealthy diets, excessive intake of food an poor exercise levels. For students of De Montfort University to reduce the high obesity rate, they should watch what they eat. For instance healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits should be encouraged to reduce the obesity rate. Regular physical activity can also be encouraged to promote good lifestyle habits that burn excess fat in our bodies.
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