Journal of Community Health

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 326–330 | Cite as

Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Physical Activity Among University Students in Somaliland

  • Mahdi Ali
  • Hassan Ismail Yusuf
  • Jens Stahmer
  • Sibylle I. Rahlenbeck
Original Paper


Physical inactivity is a well-known risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases and counts as fourth leading cause of death worldwide. The study aimed to elucidate to what extent cardiovascular risk factors exist in university students in Somaliland. In a cross-sectional survey, self-administered questionnaires were used to elucidate existence of cardiovascular risk factors in 173 university students (117 male, 56 female) in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Information elucidated included socio-economic and demographic data in addition to questions on coffee intake, on physical activity behavior, type of sport/activity and intensity and duration. Height and weight were taken, as was blood pressure (BP). Median age was 23 years in male and 20 years in female students. Mean BMI was 19.7 in male and 21.8 in female students. The prevalence rates of elevated BP and overweight (BMI ≥ 25) in female and male students were, 0 versus 9 and 14 versus 7 %, respectively. Coffee consumption was reported by 39 % of students. None of the female students reported smoking cigarettes, while 5.1 % of the male students did. Physical inactivity was reported by 52 % of the female students and 27 % of the male students (p = 0.01). Overall, male students reported a higher degree and intensity of physical activity. The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors is low in female and male university students in Somaliland. However, the results demonstrate a high degree of physical inactivity and overweight might become a problem in the future. This issue should be addressed by increasing the motivation and opportunities for physical activity in students.


Cardiovascular risk factors BMI Somalia Physical inactivity Sedentary life style Blood pressure Overweight 



We would like to thank all participating students of the University of Hargeisa for their active participation. This study was supported by Afrika aktiv e.V. and the Else-Kroener-Fresenius-Stiftung, Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahdi Ali
    • 1
  • Hassan Ismail Yusuf
    • 1
  • Jens Stahmer
    • 2
  • Sibylle I. Rahlenbeck
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of HargeisaHargeisaSomaliland
  2. 2.Internal MedicineReinbek HospitalReinbekGermany
  3. 3.Epidemiology and Public HealthBerlinGermany

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