Publication: Identifying Cardiovascular Risk Profiles Clusters among Mediterranean Adolescents across Seven Countries

Research Impact: Adolescents are exposed to a variety of stimuli that can impact on cardiovascular diseases. As adolescence is a time to bridge between childhood and adulthood, the social environment plays a significant role in influencing adolescent behaviour. In this paper, data from 7 countries on the Mediterranean sea that took part in the 2018 Health Behaviour in School-age Children (HBSC) study were analysed to examine modifiable lifestyle risk factors, such as overweight/obesity, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Just over 26,000 adolescents data were pooled and analysed through a two-step cluster analyses. As a result, four cluster groups were identified, low-risk group 1, low-risk group 2, moderate-risk, and high risk. The low risk group 1 included individuals who did not partake in any lifestyle risk factors, with the exception of not doing daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).. The low risk group 2 included individuals without any lifestyle risks except low physical activity in both MVPA and vigorous physical activity (VPA). Individuals with unhealthy weight and low physical activity were in the moderate risk group. Individuals in the high risk group all had reported to being drunk, drink and smoke regularly, were overweight or obese, as well as had low levels of moderate- and vigorous intensity physical activity.

There was not a specific cluster where adolescents had behaviours that included being physically active. This may be because the climate and region from where these participants were pooled from, yet it is also quite concerning that physical activity is still neglected, by even those who were in the low risk groups. More research is needed on this to identify if such clusters exist in other regions of the world. It would certainly be important for work like this is carried out in Ireland, as there could be policy implications in terms of raising awareness of the benefits of being physically active.

Tesler, R., Barak, S., Reges, O., Moreno-Maldonado, C., Maor, R., Gaspar, T., Ercan, O., Sela, Y., Green, G., Zigdon, A. and Marques, A., Ng. K and Harel-Fisch, Y. 2022, February. Identifying Cardiovascular Risk Profiles Clusters among Mediterranean Adolescents across Seven Countries.  Healthcare (Vol. 10, No. 2, p. 268).  DOI:  10.3390/healthcare10020268

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