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BMC Med Educ. 2018 Dec 4;18(1):288. doi: 10.1186/s12909-018-1408-7.

Results from the Medical School Physical Activity Report Card (MSPARC) for a Thai Medical School: a mixed methods study.

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School of Medicine, Walailak University, Tha Sala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand.
School of Medicine, Walailak University, Tha Sala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand.
Center of Excellence in Health System and Medical Research, Walailak University, Tha Sala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand.
School of Architecture and Design, Walailak University, Tha Sala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand.
Tha Sala Hospital, Tha Sala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80160, Thailand.



Data systems for surveillance and monitoring are essential to develop understanding of the levels of physical activity (PA) occurring at the population levels. To comprehensively understand PA in medical schools, a suitable surveillance tool might be useful to present and monitor key PA-related metrics. This study investigated PA-related metrics in a Thai medical school and summarised the findings using a newly developed tool-the Medical School Physical Activity Report Card (MSPARC).


A mixed methods study was carried out at three campuses of a medical school in Southern Thailand. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and qualitative reviews. All 285 medical students from a medical school were the target population. The prevalence of PA (≥ 150 min/week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA) and sedentary behaviours (SB) (≥ 8 h/day of sedentary time) among medical students were analysed using data from a self-administered questionnaire. Usage patterns, quality, and accessibility of walkable neighbourhoods; bicycle facilities; and recreational areas were assessed. PA promotion programmes, education, and investment related to PA promotion were reviewed from the school documents.


Of 279 participants, 138 (49.5%) met PA recommendation, but 71.7% met criteria for SB. Male students were more active (61.8 vs. 42.4%) and less sedentary (65.7 vs. 75.1%) than female students. Bicycle facilities were rated as having the lowest quality and accessibility among PA-related facilities. Most PA promotion programmes were sports clubs and sport competitions. A total of 25 h of PA education was taught throughout the entire curriculum, which provided minimal PA counselling training. The school invested 2136.14 Baht/student/year (US $64.34) in PA promotion, or 2.4% of the annual tuition. The MSPARC presented the summary of the findings by using simple symbols, infographics, and short texts.


To increase PA and decrease SB among medical students, there is a need to improve the quality and accessibility of the built environment as well as the natural environment, so as to establish health promoting policies. PA counselling training is required to develop the medical students' essential skills and awareness for future practices. Monitoring and subsequent surveillance of PA in medical school are needed.


Medical education; Medical school; Medical student; Physical activity; Report card; Surveillance

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