The influence of gender and lifestyle on cardiovascular risk factors in late adolescence

Chi Le-Ha

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated] Risk factors and risk behaviours that promote the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) begin early in life. Adolescence is an important period in the developmental course of the natural history of CVD, because it is during this period that lifestyle and behaviours that may adversely affect long-term cardiovascular risk are adopted. Obesity, the use of oral contraceptives (OC) in females, and other lifestyle factors such as dietary patterns, salt intake, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and physical activity are known to influence blood pressure (BP) and CVD risk in adults. In addition, the harmful effects of passive smoking exposure and maternal smoking in pregnancy on cardiovascular risk later in life have been reported.

    Although the influence of gender on CVD risk has been extensively studied, little is known about how gender interrelates with clinical, biochemical and behavioural risk factors in late adolescence. Adolescence is also a period of emotional development and brain plasticity, during which both lifestyle and neuroendocrine mechanisms can influence the development of cardio-metabolic disorders.

    This thesis examined data from adolescents that participated in the 17-year review of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, a population-based pregnancy cohort. Participants were the 17-year-old offspring of pregnant women recruited between May 1989 and November 1991. I aimed to investigate (i) the relationship between lifestyle factors and BP at 17 years, with particular reference to sex differences and their interaction with adiposity; (ii) the effects of long-term passive smoking exposure since birth and maternal smoking during pregnancy on HDLcholesterol (HDL-C) at 17 years; (iii) the influence of active smoking on high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) at 17 years; and (iv) the link between basal hypothalamuspituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis activity and cardiovascular risk factors at 17 years.

    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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