- This study examined lifestyle changes as related to the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in Chinese students at Oregon State University (OSU). The study population included male students or scholars from the People's Republic of China who were attending OSU during spring term 1992. Fifty subjects were interviewed using a structured questionnaire.
The questionnaire included eight categories of information: (1) bodyweight and blood pressure, (2) diet,
(3) alcohol consumption, (4) cigarette smoking, (5) physical activity, (6) psychological stress, (7) acculturation factors, and (8) demographic factors.
Results indicated that for this group of Chinese students, bodyweight, consumption of dietary fat, dairy products, soft drinks, and psychological stress had increased significantly during their stay in the US. Meanwhile, the level of physical activity had decreased. These changes, especially if continued, may have the potential to increase their risk of developing CHD.
On the other hand, there were no significant changes in blood pressure and alcohol consumption. For cigarette smokers, smoking had decreased.
In their responses to the open-ended questions, the reasons given for bodyweight changes included diet, decreased physical activity, and increasing age. Diet changes were attributed to food availability, relative price, and convenience. For decreased cigarette smoking, lack of smoking environment was considered to be the most important factor. Automobile use, limited spare time, and no friend to play with were the reasons for decreased physical activity. Finally, pressure in school, financial difficulty, and worrying about future were considered to be the reasons for increased psychological stress.
Multiple regression analysis indicated that the length of US stay and decreased physical activity were significant predictors for bodyweight gain. The length of US stay was also a significant predictor for changes in total dietary fat. Having financial aid from school was associated with decreased physical activity. Living as single was significantly associated with increased psychological stress. This study failed to identify any significant associations between acculturation factors and changes in the CHD risk factors.