Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Suburban American Late-Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional, Community-Based Study

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An opportunity for low cost, population-based screening has resulted from the recent promotion of blood donor “value-added” testing. We utilized this opportunity to evaluate key data on cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) obtained from a sample of late adolescents (16 to 19 years old) from generally affluent suburban communities. We examined non-fasting serum cholesterol and glucose, body mass index (BMI), mean arterial pressure (MAP), determined percentile-based values for these variables for the suburban lateteenage population represented by this sample, and examined potential associations among these parameters. Data were obtained on a cohort of 7,464 males and females divided by age and gender. Percentile values at the 25th, 50th, 75th, 95th and 97.5th levels were calculated by nonparametric methods. Within gender groups, several small but statistically significant differences in CVRF were noted for different ages. In general, levels of CVRF were substantially higher than expected. BMI data were compared with year 2000 United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) norms, and for all age groups and both genders, significantly higher percentile-based values were noted for the adolescents in this study. Elevations in glucose and cholesterol levels associated significantly with MAP and BMI in the older (18 and 19) age groups. We conclude that late adolescents are displaying a disturbing trend toward dangerous levels of CVRF and that teenagers from affluent suburbs are not exempt from this trend. These data also point out the utility of blood donor “value-added” screening programs in this population.

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