A new study has found that obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inactivity are a growing problem in college students in age group of 18 - 24.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers including Ingrid Lofgren, Joanne Burke, Ruth Reilly and Jesse Morrell, at the University of New Hampshire.
As part of the study, researchers collected data from more than 800 undergraduates enrolled in a general-education nutrition course who completed questionnaires on their lifestyle behaviours and dietary habits, chronicling their smoking, exercise, alcohol consumption, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Researchers calculated the students' body mass index (BMI), their height and weight, waist circumference and screened them for blood pressure as well as glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and high-density cholesterol. The students also completed a three-day food diary and analysed their calories, carbohydrates, and nutrient intakes with nutrition software.
Researchers found that at least one-third of UNH students are overweight or obese, 8 percent of men had metabolic syndrome, 60 percent of men had high blood pressure, and more than two-thirds of women are not meeting their nutritional needs for iron, calcium or folate.
The study also found that metabolic syndrome, a cluster of five risk factors, high blood pressure, excess abdominal fat, high blood glucose, high triglycerides, and low HDL or 'good, cholesterol, which are predictive of future development of heart disease and diabetes, was particularly prevalent in males.
"These individuals, if they continue on this trajectory, are going to be much more of a health burden at age 50 than their parents are," Burke said.
The findings of the study were who presented at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.