Article Title



Anna Lipsman1, Simon Higgins2, Svetlana Nepocatych1, Mark Weaver1. 1Elon University, Elon, NC. 2University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

BACKGROUND: The average American spends 6.5 hours sitting per day. College students, specifically, sit for long hours during class and leisure, which allows less time for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). In addition, the increased stress and changes in dietary habits associated with college adjustment can further contribute to changes in heart rate variability (HRV) and cardiovascular disease development. Although research has identified a positive relationship between sedentary behavior (SB) and disease risk, little is known about how changes in SB and other lifestyle behaviors (e.g., physical activity, diet, stress) as healthy adolescents transition to college influences disease risk development. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate how the changes in the ratio between SB and MVPA, dietary habits, and stress affect HRV as an indicator of cardiovascular health during the transition from high school to college. METHODS: This longitudinal study will recruit high school seniors (n=75, 50% females) aged 17-18 years old. Baseline assessments will occur during their high-school senior year with a follow up one year later during the second semester of college. HRV will be assessed as the root mean square of successive differences in R-R intervals obtained from a 5-minute standard lead II ECG recording (Biopax ECG 100C, BIOPAC Systems Inc.) following 15 minutes of supine rest. ECG data will be analyzed with Kubios software (v3.4: Kubios Oy, Kupio, Finland). Sedentary behavior and physical activity ratio will be assessed via ActivPal (PAL Technologies Ltd). Dietary habits will be assessed using the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Assessment tool (ASA-24-2018). A 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and cortisol levels analyzed via ELISA immunoassay will be used to assess stress levels. Relationships between changes in lifestyle behaviors and changes in HRV will be evaluated using a linear regression model. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: We anticipate that SB will increase while MVPA will decrease during the transition from high school to college. Dietary habits will change, and cortisol levels will increase. Each of these changes will be associated with decreased HRV independent of other behavioral changes. FUNDING: Funding for this project will be provided by the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15HL159650.

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