Differences in Cardiovascular Risk Factors in College Students: Midwest Versus Southwest

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Biological Research For Nursing

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Purpose: This study was designed to identify underlying cardiovascular risk factors among college students including lifestyle characteristics, health behaviors and knowledge, and perception of the risk factors. Method: College students (N = 293), aged 19–36 years, enrolled at either a Midwestern or a Southwestern University in the United States, responded to three questionnaires: sociodemographic, knowledge of cardiovascular risk factors, and perception of cardiovascular risk factors. Anthropometric measures collected included blood pressure (BP), glucose, lipid panel, height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). Results: There were significant regional and gender differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among Southwestern and Midwestern college students. Students from the Southwest had a higher risk of developing CVD in 30 years compared to those in the Midwest; they also had a higher perceived risk. Males were more at risk of developing CVD than females but had a lower perceived risk than females. Dietary habits were similar between the two populations, and we found no significant differences in BMI. The two regions varied in BP levels, but the Midwestern students had significantly higher prevalence of elevated BP and Stage 2 hypertension. Conclusion: Our data suggest that college students are a high-risk population and tend to underestimate and misperceive their risk for developing CVD.


Cardiovascular risk factors; Cardiovascular disease; College students; Risk assessment


Cardiovascular System | Public Health and Community Nursing



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