Reducing Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: Negative Health Behaviors in College Students

Carly M. Goldstein, Susan S. Xie, Misty A.W. Hawkins, Joel W. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-36
Number of pages13
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • college
  • health
  • health behavior
  • health promotion
  • prevention


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