Prevalence of High Blood Pressure, Risks Factors, and Knowledge Deficit in Apparently Healthy College Students

Main Article Content

Theresa A. Kessler, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CNE, FAAN Lynette Rayman, DNPS, RN, CNE


Background: College students are assumed to be generally healthy, thus, elevated blood pressure can be easily missed in this population. However, recent research on college students has demonstrated increasing rates of elevated blood pressure. Situations that increase risk of elevated BP include higher levels of stress related to college education as well as other common stress producing events in life. Additionally, college students may engage in behaviors that increase risk such as eating poor diets, drinking alcohol, and not exercising regularly. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of elevated blood pressure and risk factors in undergraduate college students and develop a campus wide educational initiative.

Methods: Undergraduate students at a faith-based, Midwestern university (n = 138) participated in a cross-sectional study. Demographic data, standardized BP measurements, risk factors, and perceived stress levels were collected via a Google form and in-person assessments.

Results: Fifty-two percent of college students had an elevated systolic blood pressure, and 30% had elevated diastolic blood pressure. Male students had significantly higher systolic (X2 = 101.343, p = .005) and diastolic blood pressure readings (X2 = 144.44, p < .001) compared to female students. There was no association between year in school and stress levels (X2 = 315.83, p = .102). Stress and systolic blood pressure were not correlated (r = .121, p = .180) nor were stress and diastolic blood pressure (r = .075, p = .408). Following the educational initiative, 96% of students (n = 91) were able to accurately define elevated blood pressure, risk factors for hypertension, and strategies to lower blood pressure.

Conclusions: It is vital that blood pressure assessments become a priority for college students. These assessments must be followed by interventions aimed at reducing blood pressure levels, stress, and risk factors related to hypertension to prevent the long-term effects of cardiovascular disease. Healthcare providers on college campuses, including and perhaps most effectively students in health-related fields, should be involved in working with this population to increase awareness and screening efforts.

Keywords: blood pressure, college students, risk factors, hypertension, education, prevalence

Article Details

How to Cite
KESSLER, Theresa A.; RAYMAN, Lynette. Prevalence of High Blood Pressure, Risks Factors, and Knowledge Deficit in Apparently Healthy College Students. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 6, june 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 july 2024. doi:
Research Articles


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