Risk factors and health determinants in older Italians

University of Florence, Florens, Tuscany, Italy
Aging clinical and experimental research (Impact Factor: 1.22). 03/2004; 16(1):3-12. DOI: 10.1007/BF03324525
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Marzia Baldereschi, May 07, 2015
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    • "Information on non-dietary variables that could be considered as potential confounders in the analyses were collected through a common questionnaire. The prevalence of a series of well-known non-dietary risk factors such as smoking, overweight and obesity is consistent with the results of other Italian studies focused on elderly subjects (Farchi et al. 2004). The adjustment for these above-mentioned factors has to be considered mandatory in studies investigating dietary influence on health and survival. "
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    • "Benefits of smoking cessation exist even at the age of over 60 years [1,2]. Although there is large and consistent evidence that the proportion of current smokers declines by age including those above 65 [3-7], there are substantial subpopulations that maintain this health detrimental behavior [6]. Even among the oldest olds, individuals maintain smoking [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests a higher proportion of current smokers among female than among male ever smokers at the age above 50. However, little is known about the proportion of current smokers among ever smokers in old age groups with consideration of women in comparison to men from general population samples. The goal was to analyze the proportions of current smokers among female and among male ever smokers including those older than 80. Cross-sectional survey study with a national probability household sample in Germany. Data of 179,472 participants aged 10 or older were used based on face-to-face in-home interviews or questionnaires. The proportions of current smokers among ever smokers were analyzed dependent on age, age of onset of smoking and cigarettes per day including effect modification by gender. Proportions of current smokers tended to be larger among female than among male ever smokers aged 40 or above. Women compared to men showed adjusted odds ratios of 1.7 to 6.9 at ages 40 to 90 or older in contrast to men. No such interaction existed for age of onset of smoking or cigarettes per day. Special emphasis should be given to current smokers among the female general population at the age of 40 or above in public health intervention.
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To identify the relationship among cognitive status, psychological conditions, anthropometric measurements and life-style in a sample of elderly Italian men and women. Methods Three hundred and six volunteers for ZINCAGE Project recruited. The sample was made up of healthy older adults living in the Marche Region aged 65 and over. All elderly were given a complete medical, anthropometric assessment, and psycho-social evaluation. Results Overall, the participants perceived themselves to be in very good or good (22%) or fair (69%) health; only 9% reported a poor health status. The 46% of the sample fell within the normal body mass index (BMI) range, though 38% were overweight, 12% were obese, and only 4% were underweight. In both sexes, BMI significantly decreased with age (p<0.001). BMI was positively associated with performing sedentary activities (r = 0.188; p < 0.001). Levels of both sedentary (r = 0.221; p < 0.001) and non-sedentary (r = 0.258; p < 0.001) leisure activities were positively associated with education level (p<0.05). It was found that lower scores of physical activity were associated to higher scores of Geriatric Depression Scale (r=−0.425; p<0.01), lower scores of Mini Mental State Examination (r=0.266; p<0.001) and higher score of Perceived Stress Scale (r=−0.131; p<0.05). Conclusion Men and women lead different lifestyles and have a different psychological status, with advancing age consequently stressing the need for healthy lifestyle programmes particularly in the case of overweight and obese elderly people.
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