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Effect of obesity on resting heart rate among medical students

Int J Biol Med Res. 2013; 4(4): 3593-3596  |  PDF File  |  Category: General Medicine


Abstract: Background: Obesity is accompanied with varied combinations of abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system. An elevated heart rate is a warning sign about an increased risk of cardiovascular dysfunction. Objective: The present study was conducted to compare resting heart rate (RHR) in normal weight persons against obese medical students. Methods: This study included 60 young adult subjects in the age group of 18 to 20 yrs. According to BMI, subjects were classified into obese group (n=30) with Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥25 Kg /m2 and Normal Weight group (n=30) with BMI of <25 Kg /m2. Obesity indices like BMI, Waist Circumference (WC), Waist hip ratio (WHR) and Hip Circumference (HC) were measured and calculated. Electrocardiogram (ECG) was recorded in each subject and heart rate was counted manually. Student ‘t’ test, Pearson’s correlation coefficient were used to analyse the appropriate data. Results: RHR was significantly correlated with BMI (r=0.305, p< 0.01). Subjects with BMI of ≥25 Kg /m2 had significantly higher ratio of RHR compared to normal weight subjects (p< 0.05). Conclusion: There is a significant correlation between obesity indices like BMI and RHR, with the obese group exhibiting significantly faster RHR. This could point towards an altered autonomic balance in young obese persons. Hence there is need to prevent obesity early in life to avoid cardiovascular consequences.