[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence and geographic distribution of major cardiovascular risk factors in a large community-wide sample of the Italian population. DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey. Standardized methods were used to collect and measure cardiovascular risk factors. Data were adjusted for survey weightings. Qualitative and quantitative variables were compared with parametric and non-parametric tests, as appropriate. SETTING: Towns (n 193) across different Italian regions. SUBJECTS: Unselected adults (n 24 213; 12 626 men; 11 587 women) aged 18-98 years (mean age 56·9 (sd 15·3) years), who volunteered to participate in a community-wide screening programme over a 2 d period in 2007. RESULTS: Overall, the prevalence of major cardiovascular risk factors was: obesity, 22·7 % (women 18·9 %, men 26·1 %); overweight, 44·7 % (women 31·6 %, men 56·7 %); hypertension, 59·6 % (women 48·3 %, men 70·0 %); dyslipidaemia, 59·1 % (women 57·7 %, men 60·3 %); diabetes, 15·3 % (women 11·2 %, men 19·0 %) and smoking, 19·8 % (women 14·0 %, men 25·2 %). We found a high prevalence of unhealthy eating habits; fruit and vegetable consumption was below the recommended range in 60 % of the study population. Ninety per cent of the study population had more than one cardiovascular risk factor and 84 % had between two and five cardiovascular risk factors. There were differences among Italian macro-areas mainly for obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: The study provides alarming evidence on current prevalence data for major cardiovascular risk factors in a large sample of the Italian population. Particularly, obesity and hypertension represent a relevant public health problem. There is a pressing need for effective preventive health measures which must also take into account the differences among Italian macro-areas.
Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Public Health Nutrition