Multiple cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents from a middle-income country: Prevalence and associated factors

by Thiago Veiga Jardim, Thomas A. Gaziano, Flávia Miquetichuc Nascente, Carolina de Souza Carneiro, Polyana Morais, Vanessa Roriz, Karla Lorena Mendonça, Thaís Inácio Rolim Póvoa, Weimar Kunz Sebba Barroso, Ana Luiza Lima Sousa, Paulo César Brandão Veiga Jardim

Multiple cardiovascular risk factors are directly related to the severity of atherosclerosis, even in children and adolescents. In this context accurate assessment of risk factors at the individual level play a decisive role in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, the frequency of their coexistence in individuals, and identify possible determinants associated with this coexistence in Brazilian adolescents. A cross-sectional study with 1170 students (12–17 years) from public and private schools of a large city was conducted. In addition to family history, modifiable cardiovascular risk factors were assessed including: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, overweight/obesity, increased waist circumference, and high blood pressure (office and home). We built a linear regression model to identify determinants associated with increasing number of modifiable risk factors. Mean study population age was 14.7±1.6 years, 67% were enrolled in public schools and 33% in private ones. The majority of the adolescents had at least two risk factors (68.9%), more than 10% had more than 4 risk factors, and in only 6.7% of the sample no risk factor was identified. Family history of CVD (β-coefficient = 1.20; 95%CI 1.07–1.34; p<0.001), increasing age (β-coefficient = 0.08; 95%CI 0.04–0.11; p<0.001), and being enrolled in private schools (β-coefficient = 0.16; 95%CI 0.02–0.30; p = 0.023) were directly associated with the modifiable CV risk factors. In conclusion, the prevalence of multiple cardiovascular risk factors was high in the population of adolescents studied. School based interventions should be addressed to change this scenario.

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