The objective of this study was to collect data concerning the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in women and to determine if seasonal variation of these factors was significant. More than 300 women aged 30-50 years were recruited from 13 rural/small town communities in Illinois. Variables measured included height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, skinfolds, physical activity, and nutrient intake. Data were collected for 3 days during each of two seasons, winter and summer. Mean summer body mass index (BMI) was 24.7 ± 4.96, and winter BMI was 24.9 ± 4.63. Mean summer caloric intake was 1668 ± 459.5, and winter caloric intake was 1631 ± 443.3. Mean basal energy expenditure (BEE) during summer was 1114 ± 133.0, and during winter, BEE was 1114 ± 128.2. There was no significant correlation between BEE and calories ingested, between BMI and BEE, or between BMI and calories ingested. Mean physical activity was 40.8 ± 5.38 metabolic equivalents (METS)/day for summer and 37.9 ± 4.37 METS/day for winter. Many women had a BMI in the health risk range. Obesity, total body fat, and dietary fat intake were important risk factors for these women. High activity levels may be a positive factor in cardiovascular risk reduction. However, these women ingested fewer total calories, and had lower BEE and higher BMI than would be expected given their high activity level.
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