BACKGROUND: Adults of the peri-urban Peruvian shantytown of Lomas de Zapallal have a high prevalence of risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD)-likely due to behavioral choices established during childhood and adolescence. To guide the development of community-based risk reduction programs, we assessed the prevalence of risk factors for developing CVD among adolescents.
METHODS: We collected cross sectional data from adolescents of Peruvian peri-urban shantytown to evaluate four domains of CVD risk factors: (1) clinical (blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and blood lipids), (2) anthropometric (height, weight, and waist circumference), (3) behavioral (physical activity, diet, and substance abuse), and (4) psychosocial (mental health and violence).
RESULTS: We enrolled 275 adolescents (56.4% female, mean age 14 years). Prevalence of overweight or obese status was 27.8%. High blood pressure was more common in males (37.4%) than females (20.5%) (p = 0.002). Total cholesterol was elevated (>170 mg/dL) in nearly half (45.5%) of the adolescents, and 71% had impaired fasting blood glucose (>100 mg/dL). Females were less likely to exercise daily (95.4%) than males (84.2%) (p = 0.002) but reported higher rates of depression (66.4%), anhedonia (67.6%), and self-harm behavior (37.9%) (all p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents living in the peri-urban population of Puente Piedra had high prevalence of risk factors for future development of CVD; preventative efforts focused on improving nutrition, increasing physical inactivity, and addressing mental health conditions could reduce such risk factors.