A study to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on Lifestyle of Medical students

  • Sania Tahir Mayo Hospital Lahore
  • Nazish Imran Professor, Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan. Member World Psychiatric Association Presidential Working Group on Medical Students.
  • Imran Ijaz Haider Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences, Fatima Memorial Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Ali Burhan Mustafa Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences, Sheikh Zayed Medical College/Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan.
  • Aqeeb-ur Rehman 4th year Medical student, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Waqar Azeem Chair and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Sidra Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Doha, Qatar. Chair, World Psychiatric Association Presidential Working Group on Medical Students.
  • Afzal Javed Chairman Pakistan Psychiatric Research Centre, Fountain House, Lahore, Pakistan. Honorary Professor Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, UK. President, World Psychiatry Association.
Keywords: COVID-19, Medical students, lifestyle, sleep, appetite, physical activity, nutrition, lockdown, diet, screen time


Background: Stressful situations are often linked with poor health and lifestyle behaviors (e.g., unhealthy diet, limited physical activity, poor sleep quality etc.). Subsequent to the nationwide lockdown in Pakistan due to COVID-19 pandemic, medical students experienced substantial lifestyle changes along with academic stresses. The goal of this study was to measure the impact that the COVID-19 lockdown had on lifestyle like sleep, physical activity and nutrition, substance abuse, dealing with finances, spirituality and family life, with respect to a sample of Pakistani medical students.

Methods: This cross- sectional online study involving 1100 medical students (68.7% females) from five medical colleges in Pakistan, used self-administered questionnaire to evaluate the impact of pandemic related restrictions on lifestyle of medical students in Pakistan from August- September 2020. Parameters such as physical activity, sleep, nutrition, smoking and substance abuse, family life, finances, internet use and spirituality were studied.

Results: Fifty-nine percent of medical students reported a significant effect of lockdown on their physical activity. Only 5.8% people clearly followed or adhered to a routine during the pandemic. About 54.6% students have found that physical activity and exercise significantly reduced their anxiety. More than half of respondents reported increase in screen time, weight gain and poor sleep with 3.1% of students stating an increased use of sleeping pills to fall asleep Another 18.3% students had an increased worry regarding COVID19 based on the information they received on internet. No significant increase in substance uses and alcohol use or family conflicts among students post pandemic was noted.

Conclusion: Our findings underscore that COVID-19 pandemic has led to undesired changes in health and lifestyle habits of medical students, which may, to some extent, be responsible for higher negative impact. Hence it is important for medical colleges to start awareness campaigns to tackle challenges for medical students physical and emotional well-being.

doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.38.7.6031

How to cite this:
Tahir SM, Imran N, Haider II, Mustafa AB, Aqeeb-ur-Rehman, Azeem MW, et al. A study to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on Lifestyle of Medical students. Pak J Med Sci. 2022;38(7):1730-1737. doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.38.7.6031

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

How to Cite
Tahir, S., Imran, N., Haider, I. I., Mustafa, A. B., Rehman, A.- ur, Azeem, M. W., & Javed, A. (2022). A study to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on Lifestyle of Medical students. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 38(7). https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.38.7.6031
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