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Risk factor investigation for cardiovascular health through WHO STEPS approach in Ardabil, Iran

H Sadeghi-Bazargani1,2, H Jafarzadeh3, M Fallah4, S Hekmat3, J Bashiri3, GH Hosseingolizadeh3, MS Soltanmohammadzadeh3, A Mortezazadeh3, A Shaker3, M Danehzan3, A Zohouri3, O Khosravi3, R Nasimidoust3, N Malekpour3, E Kharazmi4, M Babaei3, M Nadirmohammadi3, H Mashhadi-Abdollahi5
1Neuroscience Research Center, 2Statistics and Epidemiology Department, Faculty of Health and Nutrition, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran; 3Public Health Department, Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran; 4Tampere School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland; 5National Public Health Management Center (NPMC), Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Objectives: Reliable evidence is the keystone for any noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevention plan to be initiated. In this study we carried out a risk factor investigation based on the WHO Stepwise approach to Surveillance (STEPS).
Methods: The study was conducted out on 1000 adults between 15 and 64 years of age living in Ardabil province, north-west Iran during 2006, based on the WHO STEPS approach to surveillance of risk factors for NCD. At this stage only the first and second steps were carried out. Data were collected through standard questionnaires and methods analyzed using STATA version 8 statistical software package.
Results: 29.0% of men and 2.6% of women were current daily tobacco smokers. The mean number of manufactured cigarettes smoked per day was 18.9 among current daily smokers. Smoking was most prevalent among men of low-income families and those of lower education. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 26.6 kg/m2, and was significantly correlated with systolic blood pressure. 58.9% were overweight or obese; 18.0% had raised blood pressure and 3.7% had isolated systolic hypertension. The mean number of servings of fruit consumed per day was 1.1; 33.1% had low levels of activity. Combined risk factor analysis showed that 4.1% of participants were in the low-risk group (up to 5.1% among men and 3.2% among women). Those in the high-risk group comprised 25.6% in the 25- to 44-year age group and 49.7% in the 45- to 64-year age group. Mean BMI increased by age in both sexes at least at the first three decades of adult life.
Conclusion: Based on observed status of risk for cardiovascular health, burden of cardiovascular diseases is expected to increase if an effective prevention strategy is not undertaken.

Keywords: cardiovascular health, noncommunicable diseases, WHO STEPS, smoking, obesity, physical activity

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