Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among secondary school pupils in Sulaimani city Kurdistan-Iraq. A cross-sectional study




cardiovascular risk factors, physical activity, smoking, BMI, Sulaimani, Iraq.


Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are responsible for a high proportion of deaths caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide. The incidence of CVDs is largely attributed to several risk factors.

Aim of the study: To estimate the prevalence of common risk factors of cardiovascular diseases among secondary school students in Sulaimani city / Kurdistan-Iraq.

Subjects and Methods: One thousand and two hundred secondary school students between 16-18 years of age from eight secondary schools in the city of Sulaimani were selected to participate in this study. Students were selected randomly. The questionnaire form, which includes information about risk factors related to cardiovascular diseases, was filled by these students, after which, weight and height were measure to calculate the body mass index (BMI) in addition to measuring blood pressure (BP).   Permission to conduct the study was obtained from the principles of the participating schools. Consents were obtained from the parents of the students and the students themselves before data collection.

Results: Low physical activity was very high among both males (84%) and females (95.8%). Although the rate of smoking was low among both males (12%) and females (4.2%), the association was statistically significant. The rate of smoking tobacco products other than cigarettes (water pipe and vape) was 27.6% among males and 10.2% among females. The rate of high systolic blood pressure was 6.7% and 2.9% in males and females respectively while the rate of high diastolic blood pressure was 5% and 10.7% in males and females respectively. The rates of high systolic blood pressure among overweight, normal weight and underweight students were 8.3%, 4.0% and 1.6% respectively.

Conclusion: A significant prevalence of modifiable common risk factors such as low physical activity, smoking, hypertension, overweight, and obesity was found among both male and female secondary school students in Sulaimani city.


Download data is not yet available.


- Saeed KM, Rasooly MH and Nejaby M. Profile of risk factors for noncommunicable diseases in major cities of Afghanistan: WHO STEPwise approach. EMHJ. 2020, 26(4): 388-399.

- Sabra AA, Taha AZ, Al-Sebiany AM, Al-Kurashi NY and Al-Zubier AG. Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors: Prevalence And Behavior Among Male University Students In Dammam City, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2007; 82(1): 21-42.

- Ofori EK, Intifu FD, Asante M, Asare GA, Adjei PK, Steele-Dadzie RK, et al. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among students of a tertiary institution in Ghana. Food Sci Nutr. 2018; 6: 381-387.

- Ali MA, Al-Badri HJ and Mousa NA. Hypertension Control among Adult Iraqis. JFac Med Baghdad. 2022; 64(3): 145-152.

- Damtie D, Bereket A, Bitew D and Kerisew B. The Prevalence of Hypertension and Associated Risk Factors among Secondary School Teachers in Bahir Dar City Administration, Northwest Ethiopia. Hindawi International Journal of Hypertension. 2012; Article ID 5525802, 11 pages.

- Pengpid S and Peltzer K. Overweight and Obesity among Adults in Iraq: Prevalence and Correlates from a National Survey in 2015. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021; 18, 4198.

- Gallucci G, Tartarone A, Lerose R, Lalinga AV and Capobianco AM. Cardiovascular risk of smoking and benefits of smoking cessation. J Thorac Dis 2020; 12(7): 3866-3876.

- Arts J, Fernandez ML and Lofgren IE. Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors in College Students. Adv. Nutr. 2014; 5: 177-187. doi:10.3945/an.113.005447.

- Mohammad AA, Rashad HH, Habeeb QS, Rashad BH and Saeed SY. Demographic, clinical and angiographic profile of coronary artery disease in Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2021; 11(1): 39-45.

- Mukhopadhay S, Mukherjee A, Khanra D, Samanta B, Karak A and Guha S. Cardiovascular disease risk factors among undergraduate medical students in a tertiary care centre of eastern India: A pilot study. Egypt Heart J. (2021); 73-94.

- Ibrahim NK, Mahnashi M, Al-Dhaheri A, Al-Zahrani B, Al-Wadie E, Aljabri M, et al. Risk factors of coronary heart disease among medical students in King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. BMC Public Health 201; 14: 411.

- Kowalski KC, Crocker PR, Kowalski NP. Convergent validity of the physical activity questionnaire for adolescents. Pediatric exercise science. 1997 Nov 1;9(4):342-52.

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. State-specific secondhand smoke exposure and current cigarette smoking among adults-United States, 2008. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2009 Nov 13;58(44):1232-5.

- Onis MD, Onyango AW, Borghi E, Siyam A, Nishida C, Siekmann J. Development of a WHO growth reference for school-aged children and adolescents. Bulletin of the World health Organization. 2007 Sep;85(9):660-7.

- Silva MA, Rivera IR, Souza MG, Carvalho AC. Blood pressure measurement in children and (2) adolescents: guidelines of high blood pressure recommendations and current clinical practice. Arquivos brasileiros de cardiologia. 2007;88:491-5.

- Amoah J, Said SM, Rampal L, Manaf RA, Ibrahim N and Amoah L. Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors among Secondary School Students: A Review. International Journal of Health Sciences & Research. 2019; 9(8): 473-483.

- Ekta G and Tulika MG. Risk factor distribution for cardiovascular diseases among high school boys and girls of urban Dibrugarh, Assam. J Family Med Prim Care. 2016; 5: 108-113.

- Thapa K, Bhandari PM, Neupane D, Bhochhibhoya S, Rajbhandari-Thapa J and Pathak RP. Physical activity and its correlates among higher secondary school students in an urban district of Nepal. BMC Public Health. 2019; 19: 886.

- Dhungana RR, Thapa P, Devkota S, Banik PC, Gurung Y, Mumu SJ, et al. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors: A community-based cross-sectional study in a peri-urban community of Kathmandu, Nepal. Indian Heart Journal. 2018; 70(3): S20-S27.

- Al‑Murshedi RK and Baiee HA. Smoking and Its Correlates among Secondary School Students in Al‑Hilla City 2018. Med J Babyl. 2018; 15: 326-33.

- Baba-Hajee BA and Agha SY. Tobacco Smoking and Alcohol Drinking among Youth in Duhok, Iraq: A Cross-sectional Study. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2022; 16(4): LC35-LC41.

- Albangy FH, Mohamed AE and Hammad SM. Prevalence of smoking among male secondary school students in Arar City, Saudi Arabia. Pan African Medical Journal. 2019; 32:156. doi:10.11604/pamj.2019.32.156.18558.

- Al-Aumary D, Al-Ghuzi AA and Mohammod AJ. Prevalence of Obesity Among Thi-Qar University Students During the Year 2015- 2016. Thi-Qar Medical Journal (TQMJ). 2016; 12(2): 24-40.

- Jasim HM, Hussein HM and Al-Kaseer EA. Obesity among females in Al-Sader city Baghdad, Iraq, 2017. JFac Med Baghdad. 2018; 60(2): 105-107.

- Al-Ghuzi AA and Al-Asadi JN. Prevalence and Socio-Demographic Determinants of Hypertension in Thi-Qar Governorate: A Household Survey. American Journal of Advanced Drug Delivery. 2014; 2(6): 802-815.

- Nur N, Çetinkaya S, Yilmaz A, Ayvaz A, Bulut MO and Sümer H. Prevalence of Hypertension among High School Students in a Middle Anatolian Province of Turkey. J HEALTH POPUL NUTR. 2008; 26(1): 88-94.

- Saeed NY, Al-Ani MM, and Khudhur WY. Prevalence of hypertension among intermediate school children in Ramadi city, west of Iraq. Journal of Emergency Medicine, Trauma and Acute Care. 2022; (6):14.




How to Cite

Qadir M, M. Weli S. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among secondary school pupils in Sulaimani city Kurdistan-Iraq. A cross-sectional study. JFacMedBagdad [Internet]. 2023 Jul. 1 [cited 2023 Oct. 3];65(2). Available from: