Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
(P04-016-20) Impact of Birth Control Use on Metabolic Syndrome Risk in Female College Students
Objectives: Research suggests birth control (BC) use alters blood lipids in women. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in metabolic syndrome risk between birth control users vs. nonusers in a sample of female college students, 18-24 years old.
Methods: Data were collected between 2005-18 from the College Health and Nutrition Assessment Survey, an ongoing, cross-sectional study conducted at a midsized, northeastern university. Anthropometric, biochemical, and clinical measures were obtained in the fasted state and used to determine metabolic syndrome (MetS) prevalence. BC use was self-reported. Proportional differences between BC vs. non-BC users of MetS and individual MetS components were evaluated via chi-square tests.
Results: Forty-five percent of the final sample (n=6456) reported using BC. MetS (≥3 MetS criteria) was present in 3.9% of students; 16.7% of students had ≥2 MetS criteria. BC users vs. nonusers were more likely to have at-risk triglyceride levels (22.4 vs. 11.0%, p< .001) but less likely to have at-risk HDL levels (21.2 vs. 27.7%, p< .001) and abdominal obesity (14.3% vs. 16.4, p< .05). No significant differences were observed in prevalence of elevated blood pressure or glucose between BC users vs. nonusers. Overall, MetS prevalence did not differ between groups (3.8 vs. 3.9%, p=.85).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest BC use is common and impacts different MetS criteria in college females. College health providers and nutrition educators can utilize research findings to tailor information for female students at risk for MetS and chronic disease.
Funding Sources: New Hampshire Agriculture Experiment Station and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project 1010738
Student University of New Hampshire Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Jesse S. Morrell
Principal Lecturer University of New Hampshire Durham, New Hampshire