Adam J. Mortensen¹, Michael Carper¹, David Boffey1, & Tristan J. Ragland¹

¹Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas

Low socioeconomic status (SES) has been shown to increase risk factors of health disparities. It is imperative to determine health status early in life to better employ strategies to improve health and quality of life throughout the lifespan. Likewise, field tests are often used as a practical way to determine risk for disease. We aimed to understand if the SES of college age females would differentially affect the outcome of standard field tests. PURPOSE: To investigate the influence of SES on cardiovascular health and physical fitness among female D2 university students, as assessed by standard field tests. METHODS: 249 college-aged women were recruited and split into six groups based on their parents’ reported income. The six SES groups are as follows: Group 1 (n=27, $20-32K); Group 2 (n=45, $32K-$60K); Group 3 (n=63, $60K-99K); Group 4 (n=51, $100K-$149K); Group 5 (n=26, $150K-249K); Group 6 (n=8, $250K+). A battery of field tests was conducted, including weight-height ratio (WtHR), blood pressure (BP), body fat percentage (BF%), waist-to-hip ratio (WtoH), handgrip strength (HG), push-ups (PU), sit-ups (SU), body mass index (BMI), heart rate recovery (HRR), and fitness capacity (VO2max). RESULTS: Compared to all SES groups, women in the lowest SES group had higher WtHR (P<0.06), BF% (P<0.03), BMI (P<0.004), but lower VO2max (P<0.04). Lowest SES also showed lower PU to mid-SES groups (P=0.04), SU (P=0.03), as well as higher HRR compared to mid- and high-SES (P<0.04). However, there was no difference in BP, WtoH, or HG between groups (P>0.05). CONCLUSION: College aged women in the lowest SES group exhibited worse health outcomes compared to those of higher SES. Thus, low familial SES seems to negatively affect health outcomes in college aged women. Future work examining how SES impacts health and what can be done to mitigate these disparities is warranted.

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