Stress and cardiometabolic manifestations among Saudi students entering universities: a cross-sectional observational study
1 Prince Mutaib Chair for Biomarkers of Osteoporosis, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, P.O. Box, 2455, Riyadh 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 Biomarkers Research Program, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 Center of Excellence in Biotechnology Research Center, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
4 College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
5 Clinical Pharmacy Department, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
6 Preparatory Year, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
7 First Department of Pediatrics, Athens University Medical School, Athens 11527, Greece
BMC Public Health 2014, 14:391 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-391Published: 23 April 2014
In this observational study, we aimed to see whether transition in Saudi students entering university life could be a breeding stage for cardiometabolic risk factor emergence and clustering.
A total of 1878 apparently healthy Saudi students of the Preparatory Year, King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA (1112 men and 766 women) spanning 2 academic years were included. They were divided into 2 groups based on the validated perceived stress test (PST). Anthropometrics were obtained and fasting blood samples were collected for measurement of fasting blood glucose and a lipid profile.
PST score (>27) considered indicative of stress was noted in 44.4% of students. The prevalence of this score was higher in women than in men (49.7% versus 40.7%). The prevalence of obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia was significantly higher in men than women (p < 0.01), and this was even more apparent among stressed men, who had a significantly higher prevalence of all the above cardiometabolic factors than the non-stressed ones (p < 0.01).
Perceived stress is alarmingly high among Saudi students entering universities. This study sheds light on the social responsibility of universities in promoting a healthy lifestyle, particularly in this age group, when exposure to different kinds of stressors may result in body weight and metabolic changes.