Prince Sultan University Campus for Women, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases (CMD), especially among the youth, is a growing public health concern in both developed and developing countries.
To examine cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk factors among a cohort of female university students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Two hundred and twenty-three (223) female students aged 17-25 years participated in the study. Both physical and physiological parameters were assessed using standard procedures and equipment. The study also evaluated the extent to which body mass index (BMI) could predict CMD risk factors among the participants. Alpha level was set at α =0.05.
The results showed that 22.4%, 8.5% and 11.2% of the women were overweight, obese, and underweight, respectively. Hemodynamic results indicated that of those overweight and obese, 9.4%and 21.1% were pre-hypertensive, respectively, while only 3 (1.3%) were hypertensive. Blood glucose results showed that 30 (13.5%) participants were pre-diabetic. Also, the BMI for overweight (26.9±1.54 kg/m2)and obese (33.5±3.17 kg/m2) categories indicated participants at the risk of CMD. Further analysis showed a statistically significant correlation between BMI and the following dependent measures: systolic (r = 0.352, p = 0.001) and diastolic (r = 0.136, p = 0.043) BP, waist circumference (r = 0.791, p = 0.001), and fasting blood glucose (r = 0.157, p = 0.019). BMI and age yielded a non-significant association (r = 0.023, p = 0.728). Results of adjusted regression coefficients indicated that BMI accounted for 65.6% of the variance in the women’s physiological variables.
It was concluded that although many of the women screened had healthy CMD risk profiles, a few presented with excessively high levels which require follow-up clinical investigation and intervention. The need to undertake large scale surveillance of CMD risk factors among this relatively less studied population is recommended as it will promote early detection of risk profiles and health enhancing behaviours among the youth.
Keywords: Health screening, CMD risk factors, Metabolic syndrome, Women, University students, Identification and prevention.
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