Lofgren, Ingrid [faculty advisor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science]
coronary heart disease; blood glucose; activity; weight
Problem Statement: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles are both major risk factors for CHD. There is limited research regarding the combination of diet and physical activity education for overweight and obese college aged females who are at risk for developing CHD.
Background: There are several traditional risk factors for CHD that indicate who is at higher risk for developing CHD. There fore, it is important to determine successful interventions that modify CHD risk in order to decrease CHD incidence. Glucose intolerance, physical activity, and fitness level may be important markers in determining risk for CHD. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) indicates an increased cardiorespiratory fitness and training level and average number of steps taken per day can serve as an indicator of physical activity level. Also, glucose intolerance is specifically linked to an increased risk for diabetes mellitus and CHD. Further research needs to be done to determine the relationship between VO2max, number of steps taken per day, and glucose intolerance in obese and overweight college females.
Hypothesis: If fitness level and physical activity are both negatively associated with blood glucose concentrations, then overweight and obese college females with low fitness and physical activity levels will have elevated blood glucose concentrations and will be at increased risk for CHD. Subjects: Thirty four participants were recruited. Eligible participants were apparently healthy females who were not pregnant or lactating, students at the University of Rhode Island between the ages of 18-24, and had a body mass index between 25.0-39.9 kg/m2.
Methods: Measurements including body composition (BodPod), waist circumference, blood glucose, dietary intake (1 weekend and 2 weekdays), and VO2max were assessed at baseline and post-intervention (8 weeks). At the last baseline assessment visit, participants were randomized into one of two groups; Self Taught Intervention Group (STIG) and Intensive Intervention Group (IIG). During intervention, IIG participants maintained logs of their number of steps per day as measured by a pedometer, with a goal of increasing their weekly averages by at least 25%. The STIG participants also received pedometers, but were only encouraged to log their average steps on their own.
Significance: If it is true that fitness level and physical activity are both negatively associated with blood glucose concentrations, then overweight and obese college females with low fitness and physical activity levels with elevated blood glucose concentrations will be at increased risk for CHD. Therefore, assessing physical activity level and fitness level in overweight and obese college females is important in fully determining CHD risk.
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