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Can J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2008;18(3):12-6.

Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in grade nine students.

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Department of Nursing, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.



The Niagara Schools' Healthy Heart Program (NSHHP) is a health education and intervention program offered to students enrolled in a grade nine physical education course. The program involves completion of a family history and a self-report lifestyle survey, measurements of height, weight, blood pressure, and random total cholesterol levels, a heart education class, and CPR training.


The purpose of this study was to report the prevalence of cardiovascular risk for adolescents enrolled in the program.


A secondary analysis was conducted using data collected by the NSHHP staff to determine the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in grade nine students for the school year 2006. Specific risk factors studied were smoking, body mass index, total cholesterol level and blood pressure.


A total of 3,639 students from 30 schools participated. Almost 14% of students had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Body mass index was found to be the highest risk factor (13.7%) and total random cholesterol level (5%) was found to be the lowest risk factor in this sample. There were differences in prevalence rates between male and female students for all risk factors except elevated blood pressure. Five per cent of the students were referred to a family physician for follow-up, mostly for high cholesterol readings.


The findings suggest that adolescents do have cardiovascular risk factors and prevention could be targeted to this population. These risk factors were already established by the time the students reached adolescence. The findings support conducting early prevention with younger children and adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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