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J Educ Health Promot. 2019 Aug 30;8:148. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_12_19. eCollection 2019.

Examination of the relationship of diet quality with cardiometabolic risk factors in apparently healthy college students.

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Department of Human Sciences, Human Nutrition Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, Child Health Evaluation and Research Center, University of Michigan, Michigan, USA.
Department of Human Sciences, Consumer Sciences Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Department of Human Nutrition, Winthrop University, South Carolina, USA.



Preliminary evidence indicates that subclinical cardiometabolic abnormalities are present in apparently healthy nonobese young adults. Poor dietary habits may be a contributing factor.


The objective of this study was to examine the presence of cardiometabolic abnormalities in apparently healthy college students and to assess the relationship between diet quality and cardiometabolic risk factors.


Cross-sectional anthropometric, lipidemia, and glucose tolerance, blood pressure, and dietary Healthy Eating Index (HEI) data were collected (April 2015). Participants were undergraduate students. Ordinary least squares regression was used to examine associations between diet quality and cardiometabolic risk factors.


Participants (n = 147) were primarily nonHispanic Caucasian between 18 and 22 years and largely nonobese (95.0% of females, 85.1% of males). Total HEI score was 56.1 ± 16.1 for females and 53.2 ± 15.0 for males. Mean biochemical and clinical outcomes fell within normal limits. However, 71.0% of females and 80.9% of males met ≥1 or more metabolic syndrome criteria. HEI was not related to health outcomes.


Cardiometabolic abnormalities are present in a large proportion of apparently healthy undergraduates which may place them at risk for future cardiometabolic complications. There was no relationship between diet quality and cardiometabolic health.


College students; diet; metabolic syndrome; young adult

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