Prevalence and socioeconomic differences of risk factors of cardiovascular disease in Ecuadorian adolescents


  • The present address of any author: Angélica Ochoa Avilés, Universidad de Cuenca, Avenida 12 de Abril s/n Ciudadela Universitaria, Cuenca-Ecuador,, +59374051000 Ext 3152.

Address for correspondence: Professor Dr P Kolsteren, Nutrition and Child Health Unit, Institute for Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium. E-mail:



The aim of this paper is to report the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and socioeconomic differences in school-going Ecuadorian adolescents.


A cross-sectional study was performed from January 2008 until April 2009 in 770 adolescents aged 10 to 16 years old, who attend secondary schools in an urban (Cuenca), and rural area (Nabón) in Ecuador. Data collected for the overall sample included anthropometric variables (weight, height and waist circumference), blood pressure and socio-demographic characteristics. Fasting blood glucose and lipid profile determinations were collected in a subsample of 334 adolescents.


The most prevalent cardiovascular risk factors were dyslipidemia (34.2%), abdominal obesity (19.7%) and overweight (18.0%). The prevalence of the remaining cardiovascular risk factors were high levels of blood pressure (6.2%) and obesity (2.1%). Boys were 3.3 times (P < 0.001) more likely to have risk levels of blood pressure. Compared to their peers from lower socioeconomic groups, children from better off socioeconomic strata were 1.5 times (P = 0.048) more likely to be overweight/obese and 1.5 times (P = 0.046) more likely to have abdominal obesity. Overweight and obese children were 4.4 times more likely to have dyslipidemia (P < 0.001). Children living in the rural area were 2.8 times (P = 0.002) more likely to have dyslipidemia than those from the urban area.


Our results demonstrate the advanced levels of the nutrition transition in this Ecuadorian adolescent population. Primary health care should monitor and take actions to address this public health problem in adolescents.