Sex differences in risk factors for coronary heart disease: a study in a Brazilian population

Castanho, Vera S.; Oliveira, Letícia S.; Pinheiro, Hildete P.; Oliveira, Helena C. F.; De Faria, Eliana C.; Castanho, V S; Oliveira, L S; Pinheiro, H P; Oliveira, H C; de Faria, E C
January 2001
BMC Public Health;2001, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p3
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: In Brazil coronary heart disease (CHD) constitutes the most important cause of death in both sexes in all the regions of the country and interestingly, the difference between the sexes in the CHD mortality rates is one of the smallest in the world because of high rates among women. Since a question has been raised about whether or how the incidence of several CHD risk factors differs between the sexes in Brazil the prevalence of various risk factors for CHD such as high blood cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and cigarette smoking was compared between the sexes in a Brazilian population; also the relationships between blood cholesterol and the other risk factors were evaluated.Results: The population presented high frequencies of all the risk factors evaluated. High blood cholesterol (CHOL) and hypertension were more prevalent among women as compared to men. Hypertension, diabetes and smoking showed equal or higher prevalence in women in pre-menopausal ages as compared to men. Obesity and physical inactivity were equally prevalent in both sexes respectively in the postmenopausal age group and at all ages. CHOL was associated with BMI, sex, age, hypertension and physical inactivity.Conclusions: In this population the high prevalence of the CHD risk factors indicated that there is an urgent need for its control; the higher or equal prevalences of several risk factors in women could in part explain the high rates of mortality from CHD in females as compared to males.


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