Cross-Sectional Survey of Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Adolescents in Christchurch
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
In New Zealand, cardiovascular disease is higher among Maori and Pacific peoples than other ethnic group. Researchers in Cardiology documented that CVD begins early in a person’s life and that a person's risk of cardiovascular disease is determined by risk factors that contribute to a form of CVD over time. This thesis, “The Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Adolescents of Christchurch: A Cross-Sectional Survey (CRFAC)”, is the first of its kind in the South Island, and was designed to estimate the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease for adolescent high school students in New Zealand. The aims of the study were to determine cardiovascular risk factor levels between, Pacific, Asian, Maori, and European students, with the Pacific communities including (Samoan, Cook Islands, Tongan, and Niuean). The CRFAC was a school-based cross-sectional survey of 1051 adolescent students, across nine Christchurch High Schools. The study specifically aimed to determine ethnic-specific differences in lifestyle and intermediate variables that have been established as cardiovascular risks. Variables included: smoking, alcohol consumption, leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), television exposure, and sun exposure, and body mass index (BMI). Demographic variables analyzed included: form (level of education), gender, ethnic group, and socioeconomic status. In regards to smoking and alcohol consumption, Maori had the highest rates overall 77% and 88%, respectfully. As for LTPA, the type of activity that was participated in varied between sex and ethnicity. For instance, netball was played predominately more for females than males, and rugby was played more so by European/Pakehas than compared to Asians. Maori and Pacific also had a higher proportion 43.4% and 33.7%, respectively, who watched TV four or more hours per week day on average compared to the other ethnicities. Sun exposure varied strongly with ethnicity, with Asian students having a smaller proportion 20.1% in the high daily sun exposure category compared with Maori 40.8 % daily (p< 0.001). The CRFAC study results showed that demographic variables were associated with the intermediate variables: lifestyle and BMI. The findings showed that there were substantive ethnic variations between the four main ethnic groups (Pacific, Maori, Asian and European) in risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The CRFAC study was able to identify contributing factors, for which gave the investigator clarity to possible reasons for ethnic differences in BMI. The CRFAC study results showed that Pacific participants had the highest BMI levels of all the ethnic groups, followed by Maori.