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Hillary Dickey1,3, Richard Sawrey1, Jamie Sawrey1, Jessica Heinz1, Derek A. Crawford2, and Michael J. Carper1. 1Applied Physiology Laboratory and 2Applied Movement Science Laboratory, Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS, U.S.A. 3Body Composition and Physical Performance Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, U.S.A.

As students enter into their college careers many are either not engaged in a structured exercise routine or have been previously but find other activities to occupy their time. There are scarce data investigating how the college years affect student’s health and much less data on what cardiometabolic risk factors may develop during this time. PURPOSE: The purpose of this 5-year cross-sectional investigation was to collect basic body composition and fitness data on college-aged males and females to determine cardiometabolic disease risk throughout the college years. METHODS: A total of 3,388 college aged males (n = 1919) and females (n = 1469) age 18 – 25yrs participated in this investigation. Subjects performed the following tests: height; weight; body composition; muscular strength and endurance; cardiopulmonary function; flexibility; waist and hip circumferences; and resting blood pressure. RESULTS: Females demonstrated a significant increase, from 18-19 yrs to 20-25 yrs, respectively, in weight (67.1 to 70.8kg), % body fat (27.9 to 30.4%), waist (80.5 to 83.3cm) and hip (95.1 to 98.9cm) measurements, fat mass (19.9 to 24.3kg), BMI (24.4 to 25.8kg∙m2), diastolic blood pressure (75.8 to 77.4 mmHg), waist-to-height ratio (0.48 to 0.51), and total overweight and obese status (33.9 to 39.1%). These subjects demonstrated a significant decrease, from 18-19yrs to 20-25yrs, respectively, in sit-and-reach (15.4 to 14.6 in.) and total push-ups (15.2 to 13.3). Males demonstrated a significant increase, from 18-19yrs to 20-25 yrs, respectively, in weight (80.8 to 85.3 kg), % body fat (15.1 to 17.6 %), waist-to-hip ratio (0.88 to 0.90), waist (85.9 to 89.4 cm) and hip measurements (97.3 to 99.7 cm), waist-to-height ratio (0.48 to 0.50), fat mass (13.3 to 17.1 kg), BMI (25.1 to 26.3), total overweight and obese status (38 to 48.5%), diastolic blood pressure (76.7 to 79.3 mmHg), and right (49.1 to 51.1 kg) and left (46.8 to 48.3 kg) grip strength. These subjects demonstrated a significant decrease, from 18-19yrs to 20-25 yrs, in sit-and-reach (14.5 to 13.9 in), total sit-ups (52.7 to 50.9), and total push-ups (33.6 to 32.1). All data was analyzed using independent sample t-tests (SPSS, v. 23; p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Based on the results of this 5-year cross-sectional investigation, we have demonstrated that as college-aged males and females continue through their academic careers there is a continuous decline in basic health and fitness outcomes that may lead to the development of morbid/co-morbid conditions and the development of cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and increased early mortality.

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