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Original article

Vol. 146 No. 3334 (2016)

Clustering of cardiovascular disease risk factors among male youths in Southern Switzerland: preliminary study

  • Maristella Santi
  • Sebastiano A. G. Lava
  • Giacomo D. Simonetti
  • Andreas Stettbacher
  • Mario G. Bianchetti
  • Franco Muggli
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2016;146:w14338


PRINCIPLES: The distribution of cardiovascular disease risk factors among youths in Southern Switzerland is poorly understood. The aim of this preliminary study was therefore to describe the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors in 18- to 20-year-old males undergoing medical examination to assess fitness for recruitment into the army.

METHODS: Between 2009 and 2013, 1541 (21%) out of 7310 conscripts volunteered for answering a structured questionnaire addressing smoking behaviour, sedentariness and familial cardiovascular risk factors, as well as for measurement of blood pressure, lipidaemia and waist circumference.

RESULTS: Height, weight, body fatness and blood pressure were not statistically different between conscripts who had or had not volunteered to participate in the study. The following risk factors were detected: smoking (n = 656; 43% of the study participants), sedentariness (n = 594; 39%), positive cardiovascular family history (n = 235; 15%), blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg (n = 88; 5.7%), total cholesterol ≥5.2 mmol/l (n = 83; 5.4%), waist circumference ≥1.02 m (n = 55; 3.6%). No cardiovascular risk factor was detected in 434 (28%), one factor in 612 (40%) and two or more factors in 495 (32%) participants.

CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary cross-sectional survey generated the first analysis of cardiovascular risk factors among ostensibly healthy male youths living in Southern Switzerland. The main finding is that two or more cardiovascular disease risk factors are present in approximately one third of them. Since smoking and sedentary lifestyle, the most commonly detected cardiovascular risk factors, are preventable, youths represent an opportunity for the promotion of lifestyles that will affect the development and progression of atherosclerotic disease.


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