What is it about?

Noncommunicable diseases (NCD) are major health problems in the world. Raised blood pressure, overweight/obesity, high blood glucose levels, and hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood) are key biological factors that lead to the major NCD like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. During COVID-19 pandemic, it was prominent that those who have noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have a higher risk of severe COVID-19, and more likely to die from COVID-19. We conducted health examination accompanied by an online survey in one university in Indonesia which aimed to obtain the NCD risk profiles among the university administrative employees and to know their risk of COVID-19. Our study showed that more than half of the university employees have at least one biological risk factor associated with NCD (overweight or obese, increased blood pressure, at-risk waist circumference, and increased fasting blood sugar). Having an at-risk waist circumference (>102 cm for men and >88 cm for women) or an increased of total cholesterol level (200–239 mg/dL) increased the risk of contracting COVID-19.

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Why is it important?

Although it is known that those with NCD have an increased risk of having severe COVID-19 and a higher probability to die when they contracted COVID-19, there was still limited studies on whether having NCD biological risk factors increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. Besides showing the alarmingly high rates of NCD risk factors among university employees, our study add to the evidence on the effect of some NCDs risk factors such as at-risk waist circumference and increased total cholesterol level on the risk of contracting COVID-19.


The findings of this study support the importance of NCD prevention in the university setting as part of the Health Promoting University initiative which is recently being promoted among universities in the Southeast Asian region.

Indah Widyahening
Universitas Indonesia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Noncommunicable diseases risk factors and the risk of COVID-19 among university employees in Indonesia, PLoS ONE, June 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263146.
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