Prevalence and distribution of the main cardiovascular risk factors in Portugal--the AMALIA study

Perdigão, C.; Rocha, E.; Duarte, J.ão.S.; Santos, A.; Macedo, A.

Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia Orgao Oficial da Sociedade Portuguesa de Cardiologia 30(4): 393-432


ISSN/ISBN: 0870-2551
PMID: 21815523
Document Number: 14235
To assess the self-reported prevalence of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Portugal and their distribution by gender, age-group and region. We surveyed 38,893 individuals aged 40 or over, with a distribution by region and age-group proportional to the national population, through a questionnaire applied in the community in a household approach using the random route method, between October 2006 and February 2007. The self-reported prevalence of hypertension was 23.5%, increasing with age in both genders, but slightly higher in women (24.9% vs. 21.8%). The prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, based on respondents' statements, was 19.7%, and higher in women (20.7% vs. 18.6%), with the highest values in the 6th and 7th decades of life (23.9% and 23.6%). The prevalence of diabetes was 8.9%, increasing with age, and slightly higher in women (9.3% vs. 8.5%). The prevalence of smoking was 16.3%, decreasing with age, but always higher in men (25.3% vs. 8.8%). The prevalence of overweight/obesity (BMI equal to or higher than 25/30 kg/m2) was 51.6%, higher in those aged 60-69 (57.1%) and 70-79 years (56%). Most participants (65.3%) declared they never took part in structured physical activity, while 24% claimed to take exercise, on average for 11 years, and 10.6% stated that they no longer exercised. In the Azores, there was a higher prevalence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and overweight/obesity, while the North and Algarve regions presented the lowest values of these risk factors, although they had higher levels of smoking. Based on respondents' statements, the AMALIA study found the following prevalences of the six risk factors under investigation, in descending order: sedentarism--76%; overweight/obesity--52%; hypertension--24%; hypercholesterolemia--20%; smoking--16%; and diabetes--9%. Notwithstanding possible under-reporting, the differences in prevalence of these major risk factors by gender and region could influence cardiovascular prevention strategies in Portugal.

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Prevalence and distribution of the main cardiovascular risk factors in Portugal--the AMALIA study