Prevalence of overweight and underweight and its associated factors among male and female university students in Thailand
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Lifestyle habits of Thai society lead young people to conditions of potential cardiovascular risk. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of overweight/obese and underweight along with associated factors in a sample of Thai university students. Using a cross-sectional survey, we assessed anthropometric measurements and a self-administered questionnaire among university students selected by stratified random sampling. The sample included 860 undergraduate university students from Mae Fah Luang University in Thailand (27.3% males), with age ranging from 18 to 25 years (M = 20.1, SD = 1.3 years). Results indicated that the median BMI was 20.2, which was higher in men than in women. Overall, 21.5% were underweight and 20.8% were overweight (7.8% overweight and 13% obese. More men than women were overweight and obese, whereas more women than men were underweight. Multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that among men, older age, trying to eat fibre, and trying to lose weight were associated with overweight or obesity and among women trying to lose weight, depression symptoms and normal sleep duration were associated with overweight or obesity. The risk of underweight was greater among men living off campus, having a high income background, and short sleep duration and among women with low physical activity and who were not trying to lose weight. Considering the large percentage of overweight and underweight found in this study and the associated possible negative health consequences, it is suggested to include information on the assessment of adequate weight in health promotion programmes.