Title : Effect of Academic Activities on Plasma Cortisol, Glucose Levels and Body Mass Index in Students of College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe Uiversity, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State, Nigeria
Author(s) - Analike Rosemary Adamma1,2, Dibor Henry Onyedika2, Ogbodo Emmanuel Chukwuemeka*2, Ezeugwunne Ifeoma Priscilla2,3, Amah Ubuo Kalu1, Oguaka Victor Nwabunwanne3, Amah Akuma Kalu4, Onyegbule Onyema Athanatius1, Meludu Samuel Chukwuemeka2,3
Academic activities have been described as a naturalistic stressor capable of affecting human health. This study investigated the effect of academic activities on plasma cortisol, glucose levels and body mass index in students of College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State, Nigeria. A total number of 60 male subjects were recruited for this study. They were grouped into 2 stages (3 and 8 weeks) of intensive academic stress respectively. Thereafter, 5mls of blood sample was collected from the subjects into fluoride oxalate and lithium heparin containers respectively and used for analysis of biochemical parameters. Serum cortisol was assayed using ELISA method, whereas plasma glucose level was assayed using enzymatic method. Anthropometric parameters of the subjects were obtained using a well-structured questionnaire. Result showed that the mean plasma glucose level in 8 weeks was significantly higher (4.64±0.23) compared with 3 weeks (4.06±0.20) of academic stress (P<0.05). Again, the mean serum cortisol level was significantly higher in 8weeks (415.00±16.54) compared with 3 weeks (398.00±10.51) of subjects exposure to academic stress (P<0.05). Meanwhile, there was a significant decrease in the mean BMI of the subjects in 8weeks of examination (23.50±3.25) when compared to 3 weeks (24.51±4.10) (P<0.05). This study also revealed a significant positive correlation between Plasma glucose and serum cortisol levels (r= 0.184; P=0.002), BMI and cortisol level (r= 0.253; P=0.004) of the participants after 3weeks of academic stress. More so, at 8 weeks of academic stress, there was a significant positive correlation between mean plasma glucose and serum cortisol levels (r= 0.240; P=0.001) and between BMI and cortisol level (r= 0.151; P=0.000). This study showed that the mean levels of serum cortisol and plasma glucose increases with increasing duration of academic activities, whereas, BMI decreases with increase in the duration of academic stress.
Keywords: Cortisol, Plasma glucose, Body Mass Index, Medical Students, Academic activities, Nnewi Campus.