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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 152-156

Physical activity among dentists in neo-capital area of a South Indian State: A cross-sectional study

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, GITAM Dental College and Hospital, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, SIBAR Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission06-Jul-2018
Date of Acceptance08-Apr-2019
Date of Web Publication20-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Srinivas Pachava
Department of Public Health Dentistry, SIBAR Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_138_18

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Background: Sedentary work, which the dental profession demands, causes repeated strain in muscles, tendons, and other body tissues, which could lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The prevalence and severity of MSDs can overcome by performing regular physical exercises. Aim: To assess the physical activity among dentists in neo-capital area of Andhra Pradesh, India. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study with the help of a self-administered, closed-ended questionnaire was conducted in dental clinics and dental institutions of capital area of Andhra Pradesh, India. A total of 200 dentists were included in the study. Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 20, and Spearman's correlation coefficient, Chi-square test, and Fisher's exact tests were used to analyze the data, and P ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The study sample consists of 119 (59.5%) males and 81 (40.5%) females, with 50% of individuals belonging to 31–40 years of age group. Majority of individuals belonged to the category of normal (43.5%) and overweight (43.5%) categories of body mass index (BMI) scores. The prevalence of physical activity among the study population was 57.5%, and 53 (26.5%) individuals had suffered from MSD. There was a statistical significance between age groups and BMI scores (P = 0.01). Conclusion: The demanding and busy life of a dentist should not be perceived as a deterrent to physical activity. Dentists should be at forefront in doing physical activity because of its positive effect on the physical stress and strain, which, in turn, can have effect on delivering services.

Keywords: Body mass index, musculoskeletal disorders, noncommunicable disorders, physical activity

How to cite this article:
Bonu SK, Pachava S, Bommireddy VS, Ravoori S. Physical activity among dentists in neo-capital area of a South Indian State: A cross-sectional study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2019;17:152-6

How to cite this URL:
Bonu SK, Pachava S, Bommireddy VS, Ravoori S. Physical activity among dentists in neo-capital area of a South Indian State: A cross-sectional study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2019 [cited 2024 Mar 4];17:152-6. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/aphd/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?2019/17/2/152/260865

  Introduction Top

Physical activity is a crucial method for the advancement and upkeep of individual and population well-being and prosperity.[1] Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally.[2] The World Health Organization appraises that, comprehensively, the prevalence of physical activity among grown-ups was 17%, ranging from 11% to 24% crosswise over various provinces of the world.[3]

Epidemiological research has confirmed that 15%–20% of comprehensive liability for coronary heart disease, type-II diabetes, colon cancers, breast cancers, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and psychological disorders is inferable from physical activity.[3] The confirmation shows that customary physical activity is consistent to avert obesity and to minimize the effort of chronic diseases.[4] Dentistry, the profession of clinical and practical skills, is confined to an outlook covering just a few centimeters (the mouth) and requires continuous, definite force application while conveying oral health. These circumstances appeal a settled posture that can make occupation hazards for dentists.[5]

Physical activity is a modifiable hazard calculate for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).[6],[7]

The Indian Council of Medical Research, noncommunicable disease risk factor surveillance, reported that the job-related moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity in urban, slum, and rural population was 35.8%, 55.2%, and 61%, respectively, whereas leisure time, moderate, and vigorous intensity physical activity was 15.6%, 12.1%, and 14%, respectively.[8]

Dental practice is a high hazard calling, and, consistently, a substantial number of dental practitioners are at danger of employment-related musculoskeletal issue. Distinctive elements, for example, heredity, push, unsatisfactory stance amid work, and absence of normal exercise, can influence the frequency of such issue.[9] In many investigations, the prevalence of different musculoskeletal pains and that the mechanisms prompting work-related musculoskeletal pain are multifactorial, it was accounted for as over half, yet because of prolonged static postures, suboptimal lighting, poor posture of upper limb, repetitive movements, long-term static contractions, use of high-vibration tools, accumulation, injury in the upper limb, genetic predisposition, mental stress, physical conditioning, and age are higher.[10] In a study by Sharma and Golchha, 75% of dental professionals were at a hazard for creating work-related musculoskeletal scatters, and the pervasiveness and seriousness of these disarranges diminished by performing general particular activities by 20% and 80%, individually; hence, investment in physical action all through life can help in keeping up musculoskeletal well-being.[11],[12]

Essential working stance is viewed as an imperative word-related medical problem for oral human service clinicians. It is by and large concurred that the physical posture of the operator, while providing care, should be such that all muscles are in a relaxed, well-balanced, and neutral position. Postures outside of this neutral position are probably going to bring about musculoskeletal discomfort position.[12] In India, 40.8% of dental professionals lead a sedentary lifestyle and are at a greater risk for developing chronic diseases.[1] Information regarding the physical status among dental professionals in India is scarce. Hence, the aim of the present study is to assess physical activity among dentists in neo-capital area of a south Indian state.

  Material and Methods Top

A cross-sectional questionnaire study on dentists was planned in the neo-capital region of Andhra Pradesh, India, with varied specialization fields. Ethical clearance was obtained from the institutional review board, and informed consent (protocol No. Pr. 06/IEC/SIBAR/2016) was obtained after clarifying the aspiration of the study. The study was done during October 2016.

A total of 200 dentists were included in the study based on snowball sampling methodology. As there is no official data regarding the active workforce in this region, snowball sampling was adopted. The questionnaire was developed in a step-wise manner; in the first step, domains were established, that is, demographics and physical activity and then the formulation of item pool questions which were evaluated for validity and reliability. The questionnaire was self-administered and consisted of various questions including demographics, habit of doing physical activity, type of physical activity, frequency, and others.

Dentists with a habit of doing some kind of activities such as yoga, brisk walking, jogging, running, and workouts were considered as individuals with physical activity. A pilot study was conducted on a sample of 20 dentists to check the feasibility of the study and validity and reliability of the questionnaire. The Cronbach's alpha value of the questionnaire was 0.78.

The questionnaire was answered in the investigator-blinded method. A total of 200 questionnaires were included in the study after excluding 20 incompletely filled questionnaires.

Data analysis

The data obtained were compiled systematically and transformed from a precoded pro forma to a computer, and a master table was prepared using Microsoft Excel 2013.

The collected data were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0., IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA.[13] Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to summarize the results. The dependent variables were cross-tabulated with the independent variables and then were examined for significance. Pearson's Chi-square, Fisher's exact test, and Spearman's correlation tests were used, when needed to determine significant differences and correlations. The level of significance was set at P ≤ 0.05 for all the tests.

  Results Top

A total of 200 dentists completed the questionnaire with a response rate of 90.9% with varied age ranges of 23–70 years with a mean age of 34.91 ± 6.902. Half of the study population belonged to the third decade of age, and about 82% of the dental health professionals were married. The study sample consists of 59.5% of males and 40.5% of females, with majority of participants having master's degree, MDS (65.5%), and BDS (34.05%). Over half of the study participants are working as clinical practitioners, and 38.5% of the participants were working as both a clinical practitioner and a staff [Table 1].
Table 1: Distribution of individuals based on the study variables

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Majority of the study participants belonged to normal (43.5%) and overweight (43.5%) categories of body mass index (BMI) scores, with least number of participants belonging to underweight category (0.5%). The prevalence of physical activity in the study sample was 57.5% [Table 1].

About three-fourth of the individuals who are not performing any type of physical activity was due to inadequate time (75.4%), followed by too tired with the daily schedule (52.9%) and lack of interest (41.2%) [Table 2].
Table 2: Reasons for not doing physical activity among dental practitioners

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The relationship between various independent factors and the reasons for doing physical activity was cross-tabulated, and the inferences were drawn. There was no statistically significant relationship between reasons for doing physical activity and age group (P = 0.440), gender (P = 0.384), and specialty (P = 0.680). There was a statistical relationship between BMI scores and reasons for doing physical activity (P = 0.002) [Table 3].
Table 3: Correlation between body mass index scores and age groups

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The prevalence of MSDs (29.5%) and hypertension (15.4%) was more in participants who are not performing any types of physical activity than participants who are performing physical activity. The prevalence of diabetes (13.1%) was more in participants who are performing physical activity than participants who are not performing any types of physical activity. There was no statistically significant relationship between habit of doing physical activity and history of any medical conditions (P = 0.766) [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Relation between the habit of physical activity and systemic diseases. χ2 =5.732, P = 0.766

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There was a moderate positive correlation between them (r = 0.226), and there was a statistical relationship seen between age groups and BMI scores (P = 0.001) [Table 4].
Table 4: Relation between independent factors and reasons for doing physical activity

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  Discussion Top

A drastic increase in the maintenance of health was not only due to the health services utilization but also through lifestyle factors (physical activity, diet, habits, and hygiene) of the person. The aspect of physical environment as a key determinant of health has also been accentuated by the WHO.[14] Dentistry is one of the professions that request delayed static position with constrained versatility. The static forces coming about because of these stances have been appeared to be a great deal more entrusting than dynamic forces.[15]

Health professionals play an important role in managing patients to embrace sound way of life for aversion of NCDs. McKenna et al. concluded that health professionals who are physically dynamic themselves are three times more prone to consistently advance physical activity in their patients.[16] Recognizing this importance, the present study was conducted to determine the prevalence of physical activity among dental health professionals in neo-capital region of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Majority of the study population belonged to third to fourth decades of life, who are having the highest percentage of individuals with a habit of physical activity. The current study observations are supported by various studies.[17],[18],[19] The reason might be with increasing age, there was a decrease in physical activity with more sedentary behavior.

The present study reveals that males are doing more physical activity than females, which was supported by a study done at Hyderabad.[17] The reason might be that movement at work and recreational action was carried out mostly by males than females.[17] The findings of the present study reveal that MDS graduates are performing more activity than BDS graduates, which are in contrast with the study done on dental practitioners.[17] The reason for the above comparison might be the MDS graduates practicing dentistry for limited hours, age factor, and had more conscious toward general health.[17]

Lack of physical activity leads to obesity, which, in turn, is the prime cause for many NCDs.[20] This evidence was clearly observed in the current study, where the dentists reported the prevalence of many NCDs such as musculoskeletal problems (26.5%), hypertension (9%), diabetes (7%), cardiac problems (0.5%), and other systemic diseases (2%). As the period of time and years of physical activity increases, there is a chance of decreasing the effects of NCDs.

The current study reveals that majority of the professionals belonged to normal and overweight categories of BMI scores, which was similar to the study in which there is a statistical relationship between BMI scores and habit of physical activity.[21] The reason might be because physical inactivity and excess body mass are not only associated with a number of health-related risk factors but also seem to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), type II diabetes, and several types of cancers.[3] BMI is commonly used to estimate the association of body fattiness and CVD risk in clinical practice and epidemiological studies, but the principal limitation of BMI is that it does not ascertain fat mass from lean body mass. Individual with a low body mass in relation to height, expressed as the BMI have less difficulty moving their body during weight-bearing activities, such as walking or stair climbing, than individuals with a high BMI.[21]

In general, physical activity is done to decrease the effects of NCDs, but an interesting point observed in this study was some of the dental professionals started doing physical activity after affecting with NCDs. The reason might be due to lack of free time available for doing physical activity to decrease their work-related stress or disorders.

In the present study, the prevalence of physical activity among health professionals was 57.5%, which was on par with several studies.[17],[22],[23] On the other side, the authors reported that physical inactivity was 68% among dental health-care professionals, which was more when compared with the present study findings. This difference in activity levels among dental professionals was because of increased productivity time, which leads to lack of time for physical activity and recreations.[3]

None of the studies reported about the type of physical activity, and instead they reported the duration of physical activity. The present study reveals that walking (33%) was the most common form of physical activity, followed by yoga (16%). Professionals who perform activities over a long period of time are healthy and are free from NCDs. In the current study as reported by dentists who are doing physical activity more than 10 years are having less chance of NCDs than who are performing activities for a short period (<1 year).

Majority of the dental professionals had opined that inadequate time and too tired with the daily schedule were the two most major reasons for not performing any kind of physical activity. Hence, every dentist should allocate some time for physical activity despite their busy schedule, which helps in halting the NCDs.

The limitation of the present study is the sampling technique which is a snowball technique. There is a chance of missing some practitioners because of the misguiding and establishment of a new dental office in those areas which was not known to the participant. Furthermore, there might be a chance of overreporting bias, which is due to social desirability of the professionals when compared to other professionals.


  • Social motivation through professional organizations such as the Indian Dental Association
  • Knowing the barriers and addressing the issues
  • Experts' advise
  • Dentists seeking political/administrative involvement in establishing parks and fitness centers through professional organizations
  • Tie up with local medical association for the evaluation of systemic diseases.

  Conclusion Top

This study reveals that 42.5% of dentists are not performing any kind of physical exercises. This investigation gives knowledge into the level of importance among Indian dental specialist about the significance of customary physical activity. Inside the confinements of the examination, work-related MSDs are observed to be a noteworthy word-related medical issue among the dental practitioners. The part of some physical activity on the quality and amount of work-related MSDs experienced by dental practitioners is critical.

The physical activity among dental practitioners appears to put them at chance for the event of MSDs. MSDs are significant reason driving for loss of work proficiency and in addition early sick well-being retirement among dental practitioners and the predominance and seriousness of these clutters diminish by performing general particular activities as appeared by the present examination. The active recuperation counsel included stance amendment, ergonomic exhort, and extending works out. The part of physical activity among the dental practitioners should be explored advance on bigger gathering to assess particularly the sort of action that diminishes their side effects in the future.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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Gambhir RS, Singh G, Sharma S, Brar R, Kakar H. Occupational health hazards in current dental profession – A review. Open Occup Health Saf J 2011;3:57-64.  Back to cited text no. 9
Rafie F, Zamani Jam A, Shahravan A, Raoof M, Eskandarizadeh A. Prevalence of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders in dentists: Symptoms and risk factors. J Environ Public Health 2015;2015:517346.  Back to cited text no. 10
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  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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