Objective: To describe selected risk factors of atherosclerosis in probands from East Slovakia, namely their regional (urban/rural), gender-related (male/female) and age (children/adolescents) differences.
Background: The development of cardiovascular disease at a young age is influenced by anthropometric risk factors (obesity and hypertension).
Participants: The study population consisted of 191 children and adolescents (97 males and 94 females) aged 7-18 from East Slovakia region (114 urban and 77 rural participants).
Methods: Anthropometric measurements including weight, height, waist and hip circumference and skinfold thickness (subscapular, tricipital) were used to calculate the sum of body fat, body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio. Measured blood pressure was used to classify hypertension.
Results: Higher means of waist-to-hip ratio and higher presence of obesity, hypertension, positive cardiovascular disease family history and poor lifestyle factors (cigarette smoking, physical inactivity, stress and low socioeconomic status) were found in urban children and adolescents compared to rural participants. Waist-to-hip ratio was significantly connected with stress at school in rural subjects (p = 0.038) while diastolic blood pressure was assicuated with physical inactivity in urban probands (p = 0.04). In both groups, systolic blood pressure was related to hypertension while diastolic blood pressure correlated with stress at school and hypertension (p = 0.000).
Conclusions: The prevalence of key anthropometric risk predictors and unhealthy lifestyle in East-Slovakian children and adolescents should lead to targeted regional (urban and rural) prophylaxis scheme to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (Tab. 3, Ref. 30).