Background: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a preventable condition. Targeting those who are at risk of getting this disease is essential.
Objective: To examine T2D risk among university students in Malaysia and determine its relationship with socio-demographic characteristics and physical activity.
Methods: The study was conducted cross-sectionally on 390 students selected using quota sampling method from 13 faculties in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. A short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and Finnish Diabetes Risk Score were used to measure the physical activity and T2D risk.
Results: The T2D risk was found to be low (M = 5.23, SD = 3.32) with more than two-third of the student population at the low risk level while a significant proportion of 23.8%, 5.6% and 0.3% having slightly elevated, moderate and high risk respectively. The T2D risk was significantly related to their age (rho = 0.197, p < 0.000), gender (U = 12641, p = 0.011), ethnic group (Χ2 = 18.86, p < 0.000), marital status (Χ2 = 6.597, p = 0.037), residence (U = 10345, p = 0.008), academic year (Χ2 = 14.24, p = 0.007) and physical activity (rho = -0.205, p < 0.000 and Χ2 = 13.515, p = 0.001). Of these, only age (β=0.130) and physical activity (β=-0.159) remained significant in the regression analysis.
Conclusion: The findings call for a radical change in the nursing practice to target the amendable factors that are significant in order to prevent the progression of the risk towards type 2 diabetes.
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