Background: Most college students do not perceive themselves to be at risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease. This study’s purpose was to determine the prevalence of CV risk factors among first-semester college students and explore its relationship with academic success.
Methods: First-semester college students (n=66, 56.1% female, age 18.4±0.5, BMI 25.5±6.1 kg/m2) enrolled in a seminar course completed assessments for blood pressure (BP; automated cuff), CV recovery (YMCA 3-minute step test), and daily steps (FitBit) in August/September and November/December. Grade point average (GPA) was obtained from the university registrar. Paired t-tests were used to determine change from beginning to end of semester. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to identify associations between variables.
Results: During first semester of college, systolic BP increased (124.3±14.1 to 128.0±15.1 mmHg, p=0.043) and daily steps decreased (10,397±3392 to 7186±2658 steps). Diastolic BP (78.8±14.1 to 81.1±8.4 mmHg) and CV recovery (i.e., pulse following 3-step test; 110.2±22.1 to 111.3±22.7 beats/minute) did not change significantly. GPA and daily step change were positively correlated (r=0.557, p=0.001), meaning that higher GPA was associated with increases (or maintenance of) daily steps. GPA and cardiovascular recovery were negatively associated (r=-0.400, p=0.001), meaning that higher GPA was associated with better CV recovery (i.e., lower pulse following step test).
Conclusions: These data indicate CV risk factors are prevalent among college students and have implications on academic success. Targeted CV disease education warranted in college students.
First Advisor Department
Amy L. Morgan
Second Advisor Department
Walls, Christopher, "Associations Between Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Academic Success in the First Semester of College" (2017). Honors Projects. 409.