Assessment of college students' awareness and knowledge about conditions relevant to metabolic syndrome

Najat Yahia, Carrie Brown, Melyssa Rapley, Mei Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Despite the increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome among young adults, little is known about the awareness level of college students about this condition. The purpose of this study was to assess students' level of awareness and knowledge about conditions relevant to metabolic syndrome (MetS). Methods: A self-reported online questionnaire was administered to 243 students attending Central Michigan University. Questions were divided into seven conditions: diabetes, adiposity, hypertension, high serum cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, stroke, and myocardial infarction. Students' responses were scored and interpreted as follows: poor knowledge if ≤50% of students answered the question correctly; fair knowledge if between 51-80% of students answered the question correctly; and good knowledge if between 81-100% of students answered the question correctly. Anthropometric measurements including height, weight, waist circumference, percentage body fat, and visceral fat score were measured. Fisher's exact test was used to test the differences in students' responses. A p value <0.05 was considered a statistically significant difference. Results: More than 80% of students correctly identified symptoms and complications of diabetes, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke, and 92% identified adiposity as a risk factor for heart disease. There were few false beliefs held by students on questionnaire items. For example, 58% of male students falsely believed that individuals with diabetes may only eat special kinds of sweets compared to 39% of females (p < 0.01) and more than half of the students falsely identified liposuction as the best possible treatment in adiposity therapy. Gender, Health Science major, and year in school were found to be positively associated with more knowledge. Conclusion: The findings in this study suggest that students' knowledge about conditions relevant to metabolic syndrome can be improved. In this essence, raising awareness about MetS based on students' pre-existing knowledge is essential to enhance students' wellness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111
JournalDiabetology and Metabolic Syndrome
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Adiposity
  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • College students
  • Lay knowledge
  • Metabolic syndrome

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