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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

The relationships between body composition and cardiovascular risk factors in young Australian men

Selma C Liberato1*, Louise Maple-Brown1, Josefina Bressan2 and Andrew P Hills3

Author affiliations

1 Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia

2 Departamento de Nutrição e Saúde, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, MG, Brazil

3 Mater Mother’s Hospital/Mater Medical Research Institute, Griffith Health Institute/Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:108  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-108

Published: 1 August 2013

Abstract

Introduction

Cardiovascular (CV) disease is a leading cause of global mortality. Despite clear evidence of the coexistence of several risk factors in young people as children and an understanding of the importance of the health behaviors in controlling CV disease, there are limited data on the relationships between risk factors and CV disease in young people. Therefore further study is required.

Objective

This study aimed to investigate associations among body composition, health behaviors and CV risk factors in young Australian men.

Methods

Thirty five healthy men aged 18–25 years had their blood pressure (BP), blood lipids, body composition, resting metabolic rate (RMR), physical activity, dietary intake and cardiorespiratory fitness assessed.

Results

Participants were categorised according to the percentage of body fat into two groups: lean and overweight men. There were no between-group differences in the biochemical indicators except that overweight men had lower HDL-C compared to lean men. Both groups had similar mean energy, protein, fat, carbohydrate and alcohol intake, RMR, physical activity level (PAL) and energy expenditure (EE). Most of the participants (65.7%) had LDL≥2.5 mmol/L. Other common individual risk factors were body fat≥20% (42.9%), waist circumference≥88 cm (28.6%), PAL<1.8 (22.9%) and systolic BP≥130 mmHg (20%). The mean number of CV risk factors was lower among men having a high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA, >12% of the energy intake) regardless of whether they were overweight or lean and did not seem to differ according to the source of MUFA consumed.

Conclusions

It is a serious concern to observe such a high percentage of CV risk factors in a group of apparently healthy young men. The likelihood of multiple CV risk factors is greater among those with high body fatness and low MUFA intake. Intake of MUFA favorably affects CV risk factors regardless of the source.

Keywords:
Blood lipids; Dietary fatty acids; Body composition; Young men; Dietary intake; Cardiovascular risk factors