Are undergraduate engineering students at greater risk for heart disease than other undergraduate students?

Christopher Foster, Leslie Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Sixty Rowan University undergraduate engineering students completed a screening for serum cholesterol and blood pressure and a written survey of their health habits, depression and stress levels. These data were compared to a similar study conducted at Rowan University of 226 undergraduate students from all majors. Engineering students demonstrated slightly higher risk levels in cholesterol and lower levels in blood pressure, compared to the general student population. Among the engineering students, thirty six percent had elevated cholesterol levels (above 200 mg/dL) and 16 percent had elevated systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure levels (above 140/90). Incidence of Type A personality traits (a measure of stress) was found in 21 percent of the population. Women reported having more stress than did men. Students majoring in electrical and computer engineering reported having the highest stress levels when compared to other engineering majors. A regression analysis identified depression, cigarette smoking, diet, stress, Type A personality and a heredity of high blood pressure as the best predictors of high serum cholesterol among subjects. Engineering educators are encouraged to address these prevalent and potentially performance-impairing health risks among their students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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