Perceived Severity of Interrelated Cardiometabolic Risk Factors among U.S. College Students

Ashley L. Merianos, Wura Jacobs, Oluyomi Oloruntoba, Olivia E. Gittens, Matthew Lee Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cardiometabolic risk factors are related to the early onset of chronic health conditions. Purpose: To identify factors associated with perceptions about the severity of three interrelated cardiometabolic risks (i.e., high blood pressure, obesity, and cardiovascular disease) among U.S. college students. Methods: Data were analyzed from 1,361 college students using an internet-delivered survey. Linear regression models were fitted. Primary independent variables of interest were sex and cigarette smoking status. Results: Relative to nonsmokers, smokers perceived high blood pressure (B = −0.09, P = .001), obesity (B = −0.12, P < .001), and cardiovascular disease (B = −0.12, P < .001) to be significantly less severe. Across models, females perceived all three cardiometabolic risk factors to be more severe (P < .005). Relative to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander students perceived all three cardiometabolic risk factors to be less severe (P < .002). Compared to normal weight students, overweight (B = 0.41, P = .039) and obese (B = −0.72, P < .001) students reported higher severity perceptions about obesity only. Discussion: There are discordances between perceived severity of interrelated cardiometabolic risks among college students by personal factors. Translation to Health Education Practice: Smoking prevention and cessation interventions are needed to educate college students about cardiometabolic risks associated with cigarette smoking, especially among male and minority students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-243
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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