Physical activity, health-related quality of life and musculoskeletal pain among students of physiotherapy and social sciences in Eastern Croatia – Cross-sectional survey
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College of Applied Sciences “Lavoslav Ruzicka”, Vukovar, Croatia
Iva Sklempe Kokic   

College of Applied Sciences "Lavoslav Ruzicka" in Vukovar
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2019;26(1):182–190
Introduction and objective:
Low levels of physical activity (PA) and sedentary lifestyle have become a major public health problem in developed countries, even among the young population. The aim of the study was to determine and compare physical activity levels, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain symptoms (MPS) among the students of Physiotherapy and Social Sciences.

Material and methods:
A cross-sectional survey was performed on 517 participants and included the International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Short Form, SF-36 Health Survey, and the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire.

The majority of students (61.7%) met the criteria for the category “high” PA, and 11% respondents were in the “low” category. Male students accumulated higher levels of vigorous- and moderate-intensity PA, and scored higher in the domains of general health, vitality, and social functioning, while females scored higher in mental health (p<0.05). The physical component summary score was higher for Physiotherapy students, while Social Sciences students scored higher in the mental component summary score (p<0.05). The prevalence of MPS in the last year was 80.9%, more among female and Physiotherapy students (p<0.05). A weak association was found between MPS and lower levels of total PA, moderate-intensity PA and several domains of HRQoL (p<0.05).

Students of both disciplines reported high levels of PA, but also a high prevalence of MPS which could have affected their HRQoL which was lower than in the general population. Gender differences were found in both PA levels and HRQoL, which suggests the need for the development of gender-specific preventive programmes.

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