Associations between lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors in 18 year old Australians

R.A.K. Milligan, Valerie Burke, D. Dunbar, M. Spencer, E. Balde, M.P. Gracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aimed to examine associations between cardiovascular risk factors and variables reflecting health-related behaviors in 18-year-old Australians.Methods: Anthropometry, blood pressure, nonfasting serum cholesterol, and physical fitness were measured in 301 male and 286 female Australian 18-year-olds. Usual physical activity, smoking, and drinking habits were assessed by questionnaire.Results: Systolic (SEP), with mean SEP higher by 14 mm Hg in males, related positively to weight for height for age and ''unsafe'' drinking (exceeding Australian national guidelines) and negatively to fitness and birth weight. Total cholesterol, which was positively associated with waist-hip ratio and negatively with fitness, was higher in females [mean 4.4 mmol/L, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.3, 4.5] than in males (mean 4.1 mmol/L, 95% CI 4.0, 4.2). In 24% of males and 48% of females, usual levels of physical activity were low, consistent with lower scores on fitness tests in females. Thirty percent of males and 24% of females regularly drank at ''unsafe,'' levels while 26% of males and 29% of females smoked. Smoking was associated with ''unsafe'' drinking.Conclusion: Cardiovascular risk factors in 18-year-olds are related to smoking, ''unsafe'' drinking, and physical inactivity, particularly in females. These behaviors should be targeted in designing multimodal health promotion programs appropriate for these young adults. (C) Society for Adolescent Medicine, 1997.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-195
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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