Methods: This was an observational cross-sectional study. Data were collected by self-report and investigator measurement. Total HRV was the variable of interest in the analysis. Total HRV was categorized into tertiles (high, medium, and low) and variables were compared using these categories. Chi square tests were done for categorical variables and a one-way ANOVA for continuous variables, comparing variables to Total HRV categories.
Results: There were 78 participants, predominantly young adults with generally good health habits. Thirteen percent of participants had elevated blood pressure; 47% were overweight or obese and 28% had an unhealthy waist circumference. The only statistically significant relationship to total HRV level was heart rate, with lower heart rate in the higher category of total power (p=.002). Age approached a statistically significant difference in terms of total power level (p=.06); younger age was associated with higher total power. Although only 6 participants reported tobacco use, there appeared to be a trend toward significance (p=.10), with the proportion of tobacco users higher in the lower levels of total power.
Conclusions: Although the measurements themselves served as a useful screening tool to identify health risks such as hypertension and obesity in apparently healthy volunteers, the sample size and lack of diversity in our sample may have precluded the possibility of identifying lifestyle factors which might affect HRV.
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