Impact of physical activity on stress levels in medical students / Impacto da atividade física nos níveis de estresse em estudantes médicos

Odil Garrido Campos de Andrade, Lethícia de Castro Pereira, Gabriela Resende Vieira de Sousa


Background: To identify the prevalence of stress, overweight, and obesity and to assess the impact of physical activity on sleep patterns, stress levels, and suicidal thoughts in medical students.

Methods: This cross-sectional study evaluated medical students from the Federal District. An online questionnaire collected data regarding physical activity, sleep, and suicidal ideation. Stress was assessed using the Lipp Adult Stress Symptom Inventory, which was used to classify the students into one of the following phases: alert, resistance, near-exhaustion, and exhaustion. The classification of overweight and obesity was based on body mass index.

Results: A total of 404 students were included; the prevalence of stress was 71.3%. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the sample was 20% and 5%, respectively, and 36% and 6% in men, and 12% and 4% in women, respectively. Physical activity was significantly relevant in protecting against stress (p=0.001) and suicidal ideation (p=0.014), in addition to improving sleep patterns (p=0.019).

Conclusion: The prevalence of overweight, obesity, and stress was higher than the general population average. Physical activity played a key role in reducing stress levels, protecting against suicidal thoughts, and improving sleep.




Stress, obesity, overweight, medical students, physical activity.

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