Medical students are well aware of the importance of looking after their health. But is this knowledge applied in practice? Let’s find out. In fact, you can answer this question by observing yourself and your friends.
Only 43% of students take care of their own health, which certainly can’t be considered a result close to the ideal. When studying the physical activity of medical students, it was discovered that most of them (61%) do not exercise (except for P.E. classes).
What about sleep? Sleep is a natural process in the human body when brain activity is reduced. At this point, hormones that promote healthy and fulfilling life begin to be produced. That is why this process is so essential. However, it is hard to find a medical student who has never once forgotten to sleep when trying to prepare for an exam or a test. The average duration of a student’s night sleep during a working week is 6.5 hours, which is certainly not long enough for full recovery and productive activity during the day.
Bad habits have not bypassed them either. Suffice it to recall all my acquaintances who do not mind smoking between classes and “distracting themselves from their problems”.
We arrive at disappointing results. Knowledge by itself is not enough. A lot of effort is required to maintain or restore one’s health.
We have also found that medical students’ health condition deteriorates over the course of their studies. When asked “Has your health changed over the course of your studies?” 56% of students responded that it has “deteriorated”. It is curious that the percentage of such answers increases with the course of study: on the 1st course – 44% of students, on the 3rd course – 60%, on the 5th course – 70%. It is a distressing picture. However, it is up to us to change this. As Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “If you want to change the world, change yourself.”
To help people recognise their mistakes and provide an incentive to change, every year on the 7th day of April, Health Day takes place all over the world: various events are held to educate the public about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
But what is a healthy lifestyle? The phrase means a lot more than it might at first seem. Many people are used to associating healthy lifestyle with physical activity and balanced diet, but it also includes such vital components as good rest, change of activity, maintaining personal hygiene, avoiding bad habits, preventing diseases and, of course, a good mental and emotional state. Healthy lifestyle will make it possible not just to enjoy life, but to enjoy it for a long time.
This year has been declared the Year of Health and Care Workers by the World Health Organisation. It was adopted to draw public attention to the dedication of doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, the World Health Organization is campaigning for national leaders to ensure that everyone can live and work in the environment that promotes health and all people have universal and timely access to high-quality health services.
World Health Day is celebrated almost in every country and Belarus is no exception. Most of these events are of an educational nature. They are designed to encourage people to follow a healthy lifestyle, to look after their health and to visit doctors on time. Medical centres provide free appointments with basic specialists on this day. Here, people can have their blood pressure measured, their blood sugar level checked, get crucial information on how to prevent the development of diseases; also, the need for an annual medical check-up to spot health problems at an early stage. Educational establishments hold various sports competitions and provide information on the rules of a healthy lifestyle. District, city and regional competitions are held at sports complexes.
The main goal of Health Day is to encourage people to be more aware of their well-being. It is estimated that 50-55% of people’s health depends on their lifestyle.
In recent times, the low physical activity has been attributed to the lack of a culture of self-preservation behaviour and low income, which makes it inaccessible to go to gyms, fitness centres and swimming pools. However, in our country we have organised many public spaces where everyone can go in for sports at any time. Among them are sports grounds, which are emerging both on the territory of educational establishments and in the cities.
Healthy lifestyle competes not only with the benefits of civilisation (personal transport, home appliances and others) but also with bad habits. Making a choice, we should not forget that health is an excellent well-being, extra opportunities for self-realization, professional development, ensuring active work and social longevity.
Author: Oksana Savitskaya, a 2nd year student of the Pediatric Faculty of BSMU, photos from the open sources
Translation: Tatiana Malkovich