Association of body mass index with perceived stress in male Saudi students
Background and Aim: Upon reaching the university level, all students face a new learning environment, which may be a very stressful experience and if not dealt accordingly can lead to anxiety and depression affecting the performance of the students. Perceived stress scale (PSS-14) questionnaire was used as an attempt to determine level of stress and its association with the rising body mass index (BMI) was assessed in undergraduate students of Ummal Qura University (UQU), Makkah. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire based survey was conducted among the undergraduate students of the batch 2013-14. A total of 252 students who participated, 200 were categorized as non-obese while 52 were obese according to BMI. PSS-14 questionnaire, comprising of 14 questions, was used for this purpose to relate probable sources of stress during the undergraduate study period. IBM-SPSS version 20 was used as a statistical tool. Apart from the descriptive and frequency analysis, attempt was made to find a correlation between the analyzed variables. Results: No significant association was found between height and stress levels, but significant relationship was discovered between weight, BMI and PSS stress score. Levels of stress were not found significantly related in the non-obese and obese groups individually, but levels were significantly correlated when they were analyzed in total (non-obese and obese combined). Conclusion: Therefore, it is suggested that students reported a higher level of perceived stress may be due to academic and peer pressure. This emphasizes the need for measure to be taken to control obesity in young undergraduates to control the stress and anxiety.