Objective: To assess the frequencies of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in school children. The information may help in designing interventions aimed at modifying unhealthy lifestyle in children, which may reduce the later incidence of cardiovascular disease in adults.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 206 students (ages 14-18 years), enrolled in higher secondary school. Students were interviewed about their lifestyles, family history of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors. Moreover, they were assessed for height, weight and blood pressure.
Results: Twenty nine percent of the children were physically inactive, 31% were taking unhealthy diet daily, 21% were overweight (BMI > or = 25) and 6% were smokers. History of paternal smoking was reported by 36% of the children, and among them 76% of fathers smoked in the presence of their children. Family history of cardiac disease, hypertension and diabetes were positive in 4%, 23% and 16% of the children respectively. Overall, 58% of the children had at least one modifiable risk factor.
Conclusion: Majority of the children had modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Prevention efforts are required early in life, using strategies for behavioral modification and health promotion.