Risk factors and health determinants in older Italians.
ABSTRACT According to a WHO estimate, 50% of the total burden of diseases in men and 25% in women for the EURO-A group (which includes the highly developed countries of the WHO European Region) are attributable to unhealthy life-styles. The aim of the present study was to analyze anthropometric, biochemical and behavioral risk factors using data from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA), a population-based study of older Italians initiated in 1992 to study those chronic conditions and attendant risk factors that contribute most substantially to morbidity, disability and mortality.
In this descriptive study, we calculated the means and distribution of risk factors in a sample of 5632 Italian subjects aged 65-84 by gender, age class and geographic area, and identified the proportion of these subgroups at higher risk. Analyses include data from the first (1992-93) and second (1995-96) examinations of this cohort.
Over 64% of older Italian participants were overweight in 1992. More than 70% had blood pressure in the borderline or definitely hypertensive range, and almost one-third had hyperlipidemic serum cholesterol levels, including subjects receiving treatment for these conditions. Based on Body Mass Index, more women than men were obese (27 vs 15%) and more women than men were hyperlipidemic in all age classes (38 vs 23%). Approximately 13% of the sample had glucose levels exceeding the recommended 126 mg/dL. Men were found to consume on average about 41 grams of alcohol daily and women 17 g/d. Lastly, we found that approximately 20% of men and 8% of women were smokers in 1992 but that smoking tended to diminish with age.
As the Italian population rapidly ages, the burden of disease and disability is increasing, necessitating more focused, immediate and effective prevention programs. We have identified a number of critical concerns ripe for intervention. The results of this study can better focus such efforts and help guide long-term health planning and policy.
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ABSTRACT: The need and demand for comparable comprehensive health data and health information is growing in Europe. Many countries have intensified development of their health information systems and health reporting. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other international organizations collect health data and publish comparative health reports. The European Union (EU) has initiated several new activities to improve health statistics and to develop health monitoring. Sometimes they overlap with other international activities. Also, EU Agencies have been set up in several health related fields. EU public health programmes on specified health problems also monitor health. The Health Monitoring Programme (HMP) adopted in 1997 is intended to pave the way for permanent EU health monitoring. After an unfortunate delay, the first HMP decisions to fund projects were made in July 1998. A feasibility analysis resulting in proposals for the organization of EU health monitoring was carried out in 1997. Other recent developments in the EU are the establishment of a communicable disease network, and the Commission's communication on future public health policy. The Amsterdam Treaty attaches more importance to public health. Much work needs to be done before a coherent EU health monitoring system can be put in place. The current momentum must be used to speed up positive developments. The HMP should support projects which pave the way for permanent EU health monitoring and its work should be clearly prioritised. Also, the expertise in health monitoring and the ability to steer the HMP and related EU developments should be strengthened. This can best be done by close collaboration with experienced expert institutes from the Member States, and by collaboration with WHO and OECD.Revue d Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique 01/1999; 46(6):481-90. · 0.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA) is a population-based, longitudinal study of the health status of Italians aged 65-84 years. The main objectives of ILSA are the study of the prevalence and incidence rates of common chronic conditions in the older population, and the identification of their risk and protective factors. ILSA is also designed to assess age-associated physical and mental functional changes. A random sample of 5632 individuals, stratified by age and gender using the equal allocation strategy, was identified on the demographic lists of the registry office of eight municipalities: Genova, Segrate (Milano), Selvazzano-Rubano (Padova), Impruneta (Firenze), Fermo (Ascoli Piceno), Napoli, Casamassima (Bari), and Catania. An extensive investigation, including interviews, physical exams, and laboratory tests, was conducted at baseline to identify the presence of cardiovascular disease (ischemic heart disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, intermittent claudication), diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, thyroid dysfunction, dementia, parkinsonism, stroke, and peripheral neuropathy, as well as assess physical and mental functional status. The baseline examination was carried out between March 1992 and June 1993; a second comprehensive examination will begin in March 1995. An interim hospital discharge data survey and a mortality survey are currently ongoing to assess the hospitalization rate and the cause-specific mortality rate in this study cohort.Aging (Milan, Italy) 01/1995; 6(6):464-73.
- Giornale italiano di cardiologia 01/1996; 25(12):1539-72.