Bangladeshi adolescents at ‘alarming’ risk of heart diseases

MNA Lifestyle Desk: A new study has found three or more risk factors of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in one in every five Bangladeshi adolescents.

Of them, nine in 10 reported low fruit and vegetable intake and six in 10 reported insufficient physical activity, according to the study published in the Health Policy and Technology journal.

“This is an alarmingly scary finding as individual behaviours adopted during the formative years of life [adolescence] tend to track into adulthood,” lead author of the study, Asaduzzaman Khan, told media.

“We strongly argue for interventions to target adolescents who are engaging in multiple risk behaviours,” Khan, an associate professor of Australia’s University of Queensland and chairman of Active Healthy Kids Bangladesh, said.

The researchers examined a nationally representative data from nearly 3,000 Bangladeshi adolescents to understand lifestyle risk factors of CVDs. That data was taken from the 2014 Bangladesh Global School-based Student Health Survey.

The study titled “clustering patterns of behavioural risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in Bangladeshi adolescents: A population-based study” is the first one of its kind to analyse such trends among the country’s youth.

It aims to fill the gap in the scientific literature by providing evidence that behavioural risk factors tend to cluster among adolescents in Bangladesh.

Early prevention programmes with evidence-based strategies need to target adolescents who are at a greater risk of engaging in multiple risk behaviours, the study suggested.

Cardiovascular disease includes conditions that affect the structures or function of the heart, such as narrowing of heart arteries, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, heart muscle diseases and heart failure.


The researchers worked on six behavioural risk factors such as physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, low fruit and vegetable intake, and overweight or obesity to determine their clustering patterns.

The most common single risk factor was low fruit and vegetable intake, followed by physical inactivity – 87 per cent and 59 per cent, respectively.

Overall, 18 per cent of the adolescents had three or more risk factors, with males reporting higher prevalence than females (21 per cent vs 11 per cent).

The simultaneous occurrence of low fruit and vegetable intake, and physical inactivity was 30 per cent greater in males and 20 per cent greater in females than what was expected if there was no clustering.

The analysis also demonstrated clustering of low fruit and vegetables, overweight/obesity, and high sedentary behaviour, and low fruit and vegetables, overweight or obesity, and physical inactivity for males.


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