Aim: Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) mortality can be reduced with adequate changes in lifestyle, especially if started early in life. We aimed to elucidate the level of knowledge about CHD risk factors among the University students of United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Method: Multicenter cross-sectional survey was conducted. Validated questionnaire with open & closed ended statements was used to collect data; healthcare related students were excluded. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 21.
Results: 324 students, 58% females, age ranging from 18-26 years participated. Surprisingly only 57% of University students attempted to answer the open ended question enquiring what they can do to reduce the risk of getting CHD. However they identified high blood cholesterol (79%), high blood pressure (78.7%), obesity/overweight (76.2%), unhealthy diet (70.1), stress (68.5%), physical inactivity (67.3%), family history (65.4%), diabetes mellitus (50%), increasing age (52%) and being male (29.7%) as factors that increase the risk for CHD from the list. While majority (82.4%) identified tobacco smoking as risk, less than half knew the risk of regular exposure to second hand smoke. Few (27.5%) knew about high risk in female smokers using oral contraceptives and post-menopausal women (19.2%). Belonging to South Asian ethnicity was least identified as risk factor (14.2%) though 70% of students were South Asians.
Conclusion: Though knowledge regarding some of the cardiovascular risk factors is high, many areas still need improvement. This information can help in the improvement of future programs devoted to public health education of the young adults, especially the high risk groups.