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J Family Community Med. 2011 Sep;18(3):124-9. doi: 10.4103/2230-8229.90011.

Knowledge regarding risk factors of hypertension among entry year students of a medical university.

Author information

1
Department of Community Medicine, Gulf Medical University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates. riz_bsk@hotmail.com

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Hypertension in youth is increasing, but there is a dearth of data about the knowledge of risk factors in this age group.

AIMS:

To assess the knowledge of risk factors of hypertension among university students and associate it with the blood pressure, physical activity, family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and sociodemographic variables.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A cross-sectional survey among students enrolled in the first year, in the four academic programs, with the use of a validated, self-administered questionnaire on physical activity in the past 30 days and knowledge of risk factors of hypertension. A score of 6 on 11 was considered as good knowledge for modifiable risk factors. Blood pressure was also measured. The data was analyzed using PASW-17, Chi square test, and binary logistic regression analysis was done.

RESULTS:

Of the 110 participants, 69.2% were < 20 years of age, 76.4% were females, and 40% were Arabs. Stress, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking were identified as risk factors by 75.5, 73.6, 77.6, and 71.8%, respectively; 69.1% considered high salt intake and 62.7% considered high calorie diet as risk factors. Energy drink was considered as a risk factor by 64.5%, coffee consumption 35.5%, physical inactivity 47%, and oral contraceptives 13.6%. Half the group did not consider a family history of CVD as a risk factor, 60% did not consider older age as a risk factor, and 88% did not think male gender was a risk factor. Knowledge of modifiable risk factors was better than that of non-modifiable risk factors. Although nationality, course of study, raised blood pressure, and history of diabetes showed significant association with good knowledge, their net effect was not significant by the Adjusted Odd's Ratio.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study identified some gaps in knowledge regarding both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors of hypertension among students. A larger study would enable health promotion activities tailored to the needs of this age group.

KEYWORDS:

Hypertension; knowledge; risk factors; university students

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