Biological aspects of adaptation of modern students


Ph.D. S.V. Mikhaylova
Nizhny Novgorod State University named after N.I. Lobachevsky, Arzamas branch, town of Arzamas

Keywords: health, students, biological age, accelerated and delayed ageing, adaptation.

Introduction. Estimation of health level using the methods for measuring integral biological age (BA) (V.P. Voytenko, 1991) makes it possible to give an objective assessment of the general functional state of the body [3]. Biological (or functional) age helps evaluate the ageing rate and is an informative health indicator in young people. According to the conducted computer diagnostics, BA of 10-15-year-old students anticipates their chronological age (CA), moreover, the majority of young people under study are characterized by accelerated ageing. BA can serve as a reasonably accurate and initial indicator of premorbid states, provide quantitative assessment of health and efficiency of adaptation to unusual ecological and working conditions [3, 13].

Many researchers think that the actions to overcome the negative trends in the dynamics of health level and lifestyle of students should be taken at the stage of primary prevention. It is focuses on early detection of individuals with risky behavior and implementation of health-improving measures in their living habits [1, 6, 10, 14]. In the Arzamas branch of Nizhny Novgorod State University, comprehensive medical examination of students organized at the premises of the Health Centre helps in early detection of health deviations and treatment of illnesses.

The objective of the study was to examine the quality of health of modern students by measuring BA.

Materials and methods. The study was conducted based on the results of comprehensive medical examination of 145 students (55 males and 90 females) aged 18-19 years at the premises of the Health Centre of Arzamas town, including questionnaire survey, anthropometry and cardiointervalography [8, 12]. BA with allocation of functional classes was estimated by the method of V.P. Voytenko:
for males = 27.0 + 0.22 · SBP - 0.15 · BHI + 0.72 · HSA - 0.15 · SB;
for females = -1.46 + 0.42 · PBP + 0.25 · BM + 0.70 · HSA - 0.14 · SB.
SBP - systolic blood pressure, DBP - diastolic blood pressure (mm Hg),
PBP - the difference between SBP and DBP, IBH - the duration of deep inspiratory breath hold,
BM - body mass, SB - static balancing, SRH - self-rated health index (points) [3, 13]. 

The level of adaptation to environmental conditions was assessed using the classification of by R.M. Baevskiy et al (1999) and cardiointervalography data [2, 5]. The states predetermined by the body's adaptive responses were characterized by the degree of tension of regulatory systems:

1. Normal state, or satisfactory adaptation to environmental conditions.

2. State of increased functional tension of adaptation mechanisms, under which the optimal adaptive capabilities of the body are ensured by higher than normal tension of regulatory systems.

3. State of overexertion, or state of unsatisfactory adaptation, is characterized by a decrease in the functional capacities of the body.

4. State of depletion of regulatory systems, or failure in adaptation, is the state of a sharp decrease in the functional capacities of the body due to compensatory mechanism disturbances.

Based on research findings, a personified database was created. The data were statistically processed using the "EXCEL 2007" and "Biostat" software. The research objectives were achieved using the methods of variation statistics, significance estimation method (χ2 criterion) with a confidence interval of p<0.05-0.001 [4].

Results and discussion. Using the morphofunctional parameters obtained during the anthropomorphic measurements and the questionnaire data, BA of the male and female students was estimated. The findings were divided into 5 functional classes, characterizing the ageing rate (biological age) and students' state of health (Table 1).

Table 1. Health quality distribution of students based on estimation of their biological age, %

Ageing rate

State of health




Pronounced delayed

(-9.0 and less)

Very good health. Not subject to dispensary for diseases or rehabilitation.






(-8.9 to -3.0)

Good health.   Not subject to dispensary for diseases or rehabilitation.





Biological age equals chronological one

(-2.9 to +2.9)

Average health level. Annual medical examination and preventive care are recommended (work-based).






(+3.0 to 8.9)


Poor health. High risk of diseases or disability. Dispensary for diseases and sanitary-resort treatment are mandatory.





Pronounced accelerated

(+9.0 and more)


Very poor health. High risk of diseases or disability. In-depth medical instrumental examination and medical rehabilitation are required.





Statistics: c2 =18.36. сс = 4,  р = 0.0401


As seen from research findings, accelerated ageing is typical for 74.5% of males and 51.1% of females. The number of male students with pronounced accelerated ageing is 17.7% higher compared to female students. The presented pattern of indices of BA and state of health of modern students causes great concern, especially with regard to males: 40.4% of them need medical instrumental examination and medical rehabilitation (among females this number amounts to 22.7%). The studies reveal that young people neglect their health, have no desire to be engaged in health-improving activities and use rehabilitation and health-promoting methods. The reasons for this are: heavy academic load, lack of free time, financial difficulties and lack of medical and hygienic knowledge, although, at the same time students are observed to have high motivation to healthy lifestyle [7, 9, 15].

To determine the effects of BA indices on the level of adaptation, during the study we distributed the indicators of students' ageing rate and state of health in accordance with the level of adaptation to environmental conditions (Table 2).

Table 2. Distribution of students based on ageing rate and level of adaptation, %

Ageing rate (biological age) and state of health

Level of adaptation


Tension of adaptation mechanisms


Failure in adaptation

Pronounced delayed (-9.0 and less)

Very good health





Delayed (-8.9 to -3.0)

Good health





Biological age equals chronological one (-2.9 to +2.9)

Average level of health





Accelerated  (+3.0 to 8.9)

Poor health





Pronounced accelerated (+9.0 and more)

Very poor health





Statistics: c2 = 42.85, сс = 12,  р = 0.0422


24.6% of students with satisfactory adaptation of the body are characterized by delayed ageing. For the rest of the categories of adaptation of the body, the number of young people with delayed ageing ranges between 10.7-14.8%. We obtained mixed results when examining the students with satisfactory adaptation and in the phase of failure in adaptation: among them, the percentage of students with BA equal to CA was almost the same (38.7% and 33.1%, respectively). Pronounced accelerated ageing is equally noted in the students with tensed mechanisms of adaptation and unsatisfactory adaptation: 40.5% and 37.7%, respectively. 14.0% of students with satisfactory adaptation against the background of pronounced accelerated ageing rate pay a high price to be in the optimal balance with the environment.
74.5% of males and 51.1% of females are characterized by accelerated rate of ageing, in addition, among males the number of students with pronounced accelerated ageing is 17.7% higher as opposed to females. Estimation of students' biological age may help redirect them to a healthy lifestyle, which is the key to more successful professional skill building.

Conclusion. The high level of adaptive capabilities in most of the students is ensured at high cost of adaptation against the background of accelerated rate of biological ageing, which can lead to premature expenditure of internal resources and inanition of the body, resulting in various functional abnormalities and diseases.



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