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Prevalence and clustering of cardiovascular disease risk factors in Welsh adolescents

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posted on 2022-10-14, 14:10 authored by Anwen Rees

The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and clustering of

cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in Welsh adolescents from different

socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnicity. A cohort of 490 boys and 657 girls, aged

12.6 + 0.7 years, were assessed for CVD risk factors. Socioeconomic status was

determined by school attended, and ethnicity via self-reporting. Measurements included

indices of obesity, blood pressure, diet, physical activity, aerobic fîtness, blood lipids

and lipoproteins, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and high-molecular

weight (HMW) adiponectin. Two or more risk factors were present in 37.4Yo of the

cohort, with 32.IYo classed as overweight and 37.2% reported as unfit. Moreover,

75.5% consumed diets high in saturated fat and 13.3% had elevated total cholesterol

(TC) levels. Low SES adolescents had higher levels of adiposity and higher blood

pressure, lower fitness levels, a more atherogenic blood lipid profile and consumed diets

lower in fibre content, compared to adolescents from a higher SES. Ethnic minority

adolescents had signif,rcantly higher body fat and blood pressure levels, and

signihcantly lower fitness levels compared to White adolescents. Overweight

individuals had an increased clustering of risk factors. Adiposity was significantly

associated with blood pressure and blood lipid measures. However, TC, hs-CRP and

HMW-adiponectin were significantly associated with central skinfold measures. Fitness

was found to be associated with blood lipids, hs-CRP and HMW-adiponectin. Fibre

intake was significantly associated with a greater number of CVD risk factors compared

to fat intake. Adolescents from a low SES and/or from an ethnic minority population

exhibit a higher number of risk factors compared to White adolescents and those from a

higher SES. Future interventions that are developed must target increasing physical

activity and fitness levels and decreasing adiposity levels, with special consideration

and attention given to those populations with increased prevalence of risk factors.



  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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