Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death in America despite contributions from largely preventable, behaviorally based risk factors. Four of the primary behavioral risk factors are poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse. These negative health behaviors are highly prevalent in American college students, a subgroup of emerging adults. Thus, this article aims to propose a new conceptual framework for understanding the need for prevention and intervention of CVD in emerging adults. Following a brief review of the recent literature on the prevalence and nature of these behaviors in college students, existing and potential interventions are discussed with the goal of identifying targets for CVD prevention in young adults. As emerging adults, college students are uniquely situated for behavior change, as their environment and life stage provide the ideal opportunity to reform negative and develop healthy behaviors that will reduce their risk for CVD development.
- health behavior
- health promotion