Influence of lifestyle choices on metabolic risk has distinct gender and age differences

Smith, Carine ; Essop, Mogammad Faadiel (2014)

CITATION: Smith, C. & Essop, M. F. 2014. Influence of lifestyle choices on metabolic risk has distinct gender and age differences. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Physiology, 1(1):13-19, doi:10.4103/2348-8093.129722.

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Background and Aim: We aimed to determine the incidence of metabolic syndrome risk factors in young and older university campus population. The infl uence of life-style choices on the physiological risk profi le was also assessed. Methods: For this cross-sectional study, 335 volunteers were recruited from the main campus of Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape, South Africa. Complete data sets were available for 200 subjects (older males n = 35; older females n = 53; young males n = 27 and young females n = 85). Venous blood samples were collected and analyzed for fasting levels of glucose, triglycerides (TG) and total cholesterol. In addition, height, body mass, waist and hip circumferences as well as resting pulse rate and blood pressure (BP), were determined and body mass index was calculated. Subjects also completed a questionnaire on life-style choices. Results: Central obesity and high BP was the major risk factors contributing to metabolic risk in the older population, while increased fasting TG level was the most common risk factor in young females. Gender differences in the young population included relatively higher cholesterol in females and higher BP in males. Although younger males consumed fast food more often than older males, the older population consumed signifi cantly more alcohol and exercised signifi cantly less. Conclusion: We conclude that different generations and gender difference may have different etiologies for metabolic risk. Therefore, the preventative education on metabolic risk and monitoring of disease progression should be optimized for individual groups and revised regularly in order to accommodate these differences

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