African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Profile of coronary heart disease risk factors in first-year university students

L Leach, N Leach, SH Bassett


There is substantial evidence that coronary heart disease risk factors are present in people of all ages. The extent to which the problem exists in university students in South Africa has not been confirmed in the literature and needs further investigation. The aim of the study was to profile the coronary heart disease risk factors in first year university students who are at moderate risk for coronary heart disease. A quantitative, cross-sectional study design was used wherein 173 first year students aged 18 – 44 years were identified as being at moderate risk for coronary heart disease according to ACSM guidelines. Descriptive statistics were used in the analysis of the data. Among first year students screened for coronary heart disease risk factors, 28.4% of the subjects were found to be at moderate risk. A sedentary lifestyle constituted the most prevalent coronary heart disease risk factor at 31.19%, with smoking (17.97%), obesity (14.24%), family history and dyslipidemia (13.56%), hypertension (9.15%), and impaired fasting glucose (0.34%) also present. The prevalence of multiple coronary heart disease risk factors showed two risk factors to be the most prevalent among the subjects at 45.66%, with three, four, five and six risk factors prevalent at 30.06%, 16.18%, 7.51% and 0.58%, respectively. The majority of first year university students presented with multiple risk factors that place them at moderate risk for coronary heart disease, with physical inactivity constituting the most prevalent risk factor.

Keywords: Coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, university students.

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