National Journal of Community Medicine

Original Article

Year: 2021 | Volume: 12 | Issue: 10 | Page No: 331-335

A Study on Association between Dietary Eating Habits and Mental Health among Medical Students in Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu

Author: Shanmugapriya S1, Anantha Eashwar VM2, Dhivagar J3, Timsi Jain4


1UG Student, Department of Community Medicine, Saveetha Medical College and Hospital, Chennai

2Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Sree Balaji Medical College & Hospital, Chennai

3Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Saveetha Medical College, Chennai

4Professor and HOD, Department of Community Medicine, Saveetha Medical College, Chennai


Background: Dietary practices have an important role in shaping our mental health which many of people are unaware due to paucity in research data. This study was done to assess the association between dietary eating and mental health among medical students in a private medical college. Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study done among 200 medical college students studying in private medical college selected by random sampling method. Data was collected using structured, validated questionnaire to assess the dietary eating habits and to assess the various factors of mental health, i.e., stress, depression and anxiety, using Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale 21 (DASS-21). Results: It was found that 36% were having a craving for junk food and frequent consumption of canned foods, frozen foods and fast foods were risk factors of depression. Anxiety was found to be associated with frequent fried foods consumption. Stress was found to be associated with consumption of canned/readymade foods. Conclusion: This study concludes that students and their mental health are affected significantly by their dietary habits and food habits of students should be monitored and interventions, if necessary, should be given. More research is necessary to establish causal relationships.

Keywords: Depression, Anxiety, Stress, inflammatory diet

DOI: 10.5455/njcm.20210924061037