MEASUREMENT OF KNOWLEDGE, PERCEPTIONS AND ACTUAL CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK FACTORS IN A STUDENT POPULATION
Cardiff Metropolitan University
MetadataShow full item record
Rationale: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death globally and the third leading cause of death among 25-44 year olds. CVD risk factors are behavioural; bad diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol abuse, and physiological; hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity. Behavioural risks are prevalent in university populations but magnitudes and relationships are under researched. Aims: This study aimed to measure prevalence of CVD risk factors, knowledge of CVD risks and perceptions of personal risk of CVD. Method: 90 third year sports students filled in a questionnaire that used validated questionnaires to assess physical activity (IPAQ), alcohol (AUDIT), smoking (WHS) and diet (FFQ), as well as questions regarding knowledge and perceptions. A cross section (n=40) underwent physiological measurements using BMI, body fat percentage using BIA, waist-hip ratio and blood pressure. Results: A small percentage recorded borderline hypertension, and a minority of females were overweight. Questionnaire data revealed alcohol consumption to be hazardous especially in females, diet to be low in fruit and vegetables and high in saturated fat from red meat, smoking to be low but environmental smoke exposure to be prevalent, and sedentary behaviour and physical activity to be high. Knowledge was lacking and perceptions were unrealistically optimistic regarding all risk factors. Conclusion: Due to the contemporary nature of this study, numerous practical implications, limitations and areas for future research arose, including possible health initiatives, use of broader populations and incorporation of objective measures.