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Croat Med J. 2012 Jun;53(3):278-84.

The perception and knowledge of cardiovascular risk factors among medical students.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia.



To assess perceptions, knowledge, and awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among medical students (freshmen and graduating students).


A descriptive cross-sectional survey based on an anonymous self-administered questionnaire was conducted in 2008 on 443 medical students - 228 freshmen on their enrollment day and 214 students on the day of their final exam at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Croatia.


The perception and knowledge of some CVD risk factors, eg, dyslipidemia, arterial hypertension, and metabolic syndrome as well as of lipid-lowering therapy important for CVD prevention was significantly better among graduating students but was still not sufficient. Only 66% of graduating students reported that they would prescribe lipid-lowering therapy to high risk patients. Disappointingly, many graduating students were smoking (30.4%) and had low-awareness of obesity as an important CVD risk factor.


These results suggest an urgent need to improve medical students' knowledge of obesity and low physical activity as important CVD risk factors and of the methods for increasing low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and for smoking cessation. All this provides a rationale for modifying the university core curriculum to include more information concerning these issues.

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