, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 363-371
Date: 24 May 2012

Coronary Heart Disease and Metabolic Risk Factors in Israel: Focus on Gender and Ethnicity

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Israel is a small country with a highly diverse population in terms of ethnicity, religion, genetics and lifestyle, which all have an impact on coronary heart disease (CHD) and metabolic risk factors. This review focuses on gender and ethnic group differences in the risk factors associated with CHD. Using the metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) as a guiding theoretical framework, 30 empirical studies from Israel published after the year 2000 were reviewed to elicit trends. Overall, the MetSyn framework appears to be less appropriate for women than for men in predicting CHD morbidity. In addition, ethnic minorities are more likely to have earlier and more severe risk factor profiles, and women are almost always disproportionately affected. Over a period of 5 to 15 years after arrival in Israel, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia show an increase in obesity. Recent intervention studies to reduce CHD risk have shown encouraging results when the programs are culturally tailored.