Parental educational level and cardiovascular disease risk factors in schoolchildren in large urban areas of Turkey: Directions for public health policy

Kocaoglu, Bike; Moschonis, George; Dimitriou, Maria; Kolotourou, Maria; Keskin, Yasar; Sur, Haydar; Hayran, Osman; Manios, Yannis
January 2005
BMC Public Health;2005, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p13
Academic Journal
Background: It is widely accepted that the development of atherosclerosis starts at an early age. However, there are very few studies evaluating the prevalence of the common clinical and behavioral cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among children, especially in developing countries. The aim of the present cross-sectional survey was to evaluate the distribution of blood lipid profile and various behavioral (i.e. dietary habits, physical activity status) factors related to CVD risk and its relationships to paternal (PEL) and maternal educational level (MEL) among primary schoolchildren in Turkey. Methods: In three major metropolises in Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir), a random sample of 1044 children aged 12 and 13 years old was examined. ANOVA was applied to evaluate the tested hypothesis, after correcting for multiple comparisons (Tukey correction). Results: After controlling for energy and fat intake, physical activity status and Body Mass Index (BMI), it was found that mostly PEL had a significant positive effect for most of the subgroups examined (Lower vs. Higher and Medium vs. Higher) on TC and HDL-cholesterol and a negative effect on TC/HDL ratio for both genders. Furthermore, both boys and girls with higher PEL and MEL were found to have higher energy intake derived from fat and protein than their counterparts with Medium and Lower PEL and MEL, while the opposite was observed for the percentage of energy derived from carbohydrates. Conclusions: Our study provides indications for a possible association between an adverse lipid profile, certain dietary patterns and Higher PEL and MEL among schoolchildren in Turkey. These findings underline the possible role of social status, indicated by the degree of education of both parents, in developing certain health behaviors and health indices among Turkish children and provide some guidance for Public Health Policy.


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