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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Risk factors of coronary heart disease among medical students in King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Nahla Khamis Ibrahim12*, Morooj Mahnashi3, Amal Al-Dhaheri3, Borooj Al-Zahrani3, Ebtihal Al-Wadie3, Mydaa Aljabri3, Rajaa Al-Shanketi3, Rawiah Al-Shehri3, Fatin M Al-Sayes4 and Jamil Bashawri1

Author Affiliations

1 Family and Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

2 Epidemiology Department, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

3 Sixth Year Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudia Arabia

4 Internal Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:411  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-411

Published: 28 April 2014

Abstract

Background

Nowadays, Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) represents an escalating worldwide public health problem. Providing consistent data on the magnitude and risk factors of CVDs among young population will help in controlling the risks and avoiding their consequences.

Objective

The objective was to estimate the prevalence of risk factors of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) among medical students during their clinical clerkship (4th - 6th years).

Methods

A cross-sectional study was done during the educational year 2012–2013 at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah. Ethical standards were followed and a multistage stratified random sample method was used for selection of 214 medical students. Data was collected through an interviewing questionnaire, measurements and laboratory investigations. Both descriptive and analytical statistics were done by SPSS version 21. CHD risk percent in thirty years was calculated using Framingham algorithm for each student, then the risk among all students was determined.

Results

The commonest risk factors of CHDs were daily intake of high fat diet (73.4%), physical inactivity (57.9%), overweight/or obesity (31.2%) and daily consumption of fast food (13.1%). Hyper-cholesterolemia (17.2%) and hypertension (9.3%) were also prevalent risk factors. Smoking prevalence was low (2.8%). Males had significantly higher mean scores for most of CHD risk factors compared to females (p < 0.05). Systolic Blood pressure was higher among males (119.47 ± 11.17) compared to females (112.26 ± 9.06). A highly statistical significant difference was present (Students’t test = 4.74, p < 0.001). Framingham Risk Score revealed that CHD risk percent in thirty-years among all students was 10.7%, 2.3% and 0.5% for mild, moderate and severe risk, respectively.

Conclusion

An alarmingly high prevalence of CHD risk factors was prevailed among medical students, especially among males. However, a low prevalence of smoking may indicate the success of “Smoke-free Campus” program. Screening risk factors of CHD among medical students and implementation of intervention programs are recommended. Programs to raise awareness about CHD risk factors, encourage young adult students to adopt a healthy dietary behavior and promote physical exercise should be initiated.

Keywords:
Risk factors; Coronary heart diseases; Young adults; Framingham risk score