Author(s): Hlaing WW, Nath SD, HuffmanFG
Although studies regarding health issues and the obesity epidemic have increased in recent years, few of these studies target college-aged students. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the differences in race/ethnicity with respect to prevalence of overweight/obesity (defined by body mass index or BMI) among college students attending an urban university. In addition, the demographic characteristics and cardiovascular risks between the overweight and obese group (n=138) were compared to the underweight and normal weight group (n=349). The study included 487 college students under 40 years of age who identified their origin as white (non-Hispanic), black (non-Hispanic), or Hispanic. There were 32.65% white, 33.26% Hispanic, and 34.09% black. The mean and median ages were 21 and 19 years, respectively. The overall prevalence of overweight/obesity was 28.11%, with 23.91% (white), 34.06% (Hispanic), and 42.03% (black). Age-, gender-, and race-/ethnicity-adjusted cardiovascular risk levels (blood pressure, pulse pressure, blood glucose and lipid profiles) significantly varied between two groups. The findings suggest that screening cardiovascular risks among a college-aged population is warranted. Our study further indicates the need for weight management and risk reduction of overweight-related chronic diseases on campus.