Hillary D. Dickey*, Lindsey Gordon*, Kaylah Williamson, Mike Leiker & Michael J. Carper

Applied Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas

Fitness evaluations include a battery of comprehensive tests which exercise physiologists and health care providers can use to predict increased risk of developing hypertension, obesity and/or cardiovascular disease. PURPOSE: The purpose of this investigation was to determine the health-related fitness levels of college aged students (17-25 yrs) from 2010 to 2013 and to determine if either group revealed risk factors for future development of hypertension, obesity and/or cardiovascular disease. METHODS: College aged students (n=2,028; age 17 – 25yrs; males and females) participated in the investigation. Subjects performed the following tests: waist and hip measurements, body composition (Tanita Body Composition Analyzer); muscular strength (hydraulic hand dynamometer); muscular endurance (standard sit-ups and push-ups); and flexibility (sit-and-reach test). Based on data gathered, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body mass index (BMI) were calculated. Statistical analysis of data was performed using SPSS 20. RESULTS: There was a significant difference between males and females for all measurements. Therefore, data was divided into sub-groups for further analysis based on age (17-19yrs and 20-25yrs). Males demonstrated a significant difference between 17-19yrs and 20-25yrs, respectively, in: weight (83.2±18.6 vs 85.7±19.2kg), percent body fat (14.9±8.5 vs 17.1±9.6%), WHR (0.86±0.07 vs 0.88±0.07), BMI (25.0±5.3 vs 26.3±5.8kg∙m-2), diastolic blood pressure (75.9±9.6 vs 77.9±9.7mmHg), waist measurement (33.9±4.9 vs 35.1±5.4in.), and hip measurements (39.3±4.1 vs 39.9±4.2in.). Females demonstrated a significant difference between 17-19yrs and 20-25yrs, respectively, in: weight (67.1±16.1 vs 70.1±19.4kg), percent body fat (27.4±9.2 vs 29.7±10.3%), BMI (24.4±5.7 vs 25.6±7.1kg∙m-2), push-ups (15.0±9.8 vs 13.2±9.6), waist measurement (31.6±5.4 vs 32.4±6.1in.), and hip measurements (38.3±4.9 vs 39.4±5.6in.). As well, when raw data were analyzed, we discovered that34.3% of females and 43.6% of males included in this investigation were overweight or obese. CONCLUSION: The primary findings from this investigation demonstrate that as college-age males and females age: 1) they become more predisposed to and have increased risk factors for the development of hypertension, obesity, and/or cardiovascular disease, and 2) their muscular strength and endurance, as well as flexibility remain unchanged or decrease. Based on these conclusions, the overall physical condition and health-related behaviors of this population need to be addressed to ensure a healthy existence following the collegiate years.

*Authors contributed equally to the project.

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