Obesity, Prehypertension and Distribution of Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Health Sciences University Students in Slovakia: Gender, Medical Studies and Academic Year Differences
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are known to have the highest proportion of mortality in Slovakia and university students could be at a risk despite their level of education about health. The aim of the study is to investigate the environmental risk predictors (sedentarism, cigarette smoking, stress, fast food consumption) associated with parameters of overweight, obesity and prehypertension. The study popoulation consisted of 33% of all university students (N=102), 23.5% males and 76.5% females attending Faculty of Health Care at Slovak Medical University in all study programmes (nurses-34%, paramedics-45%, laborants-11%, physiotherapists-12%) in the first (46%), the second (27.4%) and the third (25.5%) year study. Subjects were measured for anthropometric parameters (weight, height, body fat percentage for abdominal skinfold for body fat, waist and hip circumference, pulsation, blood pressure). Total results indicate 16% of prehypertension, 20.6% of overvalues of BMI, 14.7% of overweight and 4.9% of obesity and 17.6% of abdominal obesity by assessment of waist circumference. 70.6% of CVD family history was recorded. The prevalence of cigarette smoking was confirmed with 24.5% probands. University students showed a rather high prevalence of stress (69.6%), fast food consumption (37.25%) and physical inactivity (37%). The highest overvalues of BMI (26.5%) and 11.8% of obesity, overvalues of WHtR (17.6%), prevalence of sedentarism (60.6%) and body fat composition (56%) was determined in females studying nursing. Males showed higher prevalence of prehypertension and overvalues of BMI (33.3%), overweight (29.2%) and WHR (12.5%) and waist circumference (13.6%), WHtR (12.5%) and higher prevalence of cigarette smoking (29.2%) than females who confirmed higher prevalence of stress (74.4%), physical inactivity (39.71%) and fast food consumption (41%) and cigarette smoking (23.2%), higher against the latter published data. The first year students seemed to be at the highest risk CVD. They were the most hypertensive (21.7%) and showed the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking (34%), stress (74.5%) and fast food consumption (51%) of all. Sedentarism was detected among third year students (48.1%), who also demonstrated the frequent overvalues of BMI (7.4%), high WHtR(18.5%) and family history of CVD (88.9%). By gender, significant differences were examined in high blood pressure (p=0.002), weight, height and waist (p<0.001). Significant relationship was proved between gender and prehypertension (p=0.008) and obesity (p=0.043). A certain relationship was analyzed between academic year and cigarette smoking (p=0.044), physical inactivity (p=0.001) and fastfood consumption (p=0.024). Significant differences were shown for different study programm and pulse (p=0.008) and height (p=0.023).We found significant differences beween all studied groups in stress (p=0.04), physical inactivity (p=0.001), fastfood (p=0.024), respectively. Further research is needed to examine lipid profiles and investigate other association with CVD risk factors among other groups of university students in Slovakia, although they are well educated in medical sciences but they need to apply the knowledge into their life style.
Department of Common Disciplines, Faculty of Health Care, Slovak Medical University, Banská Bystrica,Slovakia.
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