, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 347-356

Do cardiovascular risk factors in men depend on their spouses' occupational category?

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Abstract

Objective: To analyse the relationships between major cardiovascular risk factors in French men and their spouses' occupational category (OC), taking their own OC into account. Design: A large sample of volunteers working in the French National Electricity and Gas Company (GAZEL). As a check of the robustness, the same analysis was performed in a population-based survey (French multinational MONItoring of trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease (MONICA) registers). Setting: Any site of the company in France. Representative sample from the population of the three registers (Lille, Strasbourg, Toulouse). Participants: 9486 and 534 men respectively, in working activity, living in couple and aged 40 to 50 years. Main outcome measures: Self-reported arterial hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, leisure time sedentary lifestyle, smoking status, body mass index (BMI) and alcohol consumption. Results: In the GAZEL study, diabetes, smoking status, and alcohol consumption in men were associated with their own OC. In contrast, spouses' OC was independently associated with men's hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, sedentary lifestyle, and BMI: men whose spouses were unoccupied or workers have higher risk factors levels. In the MONICA study, the results were mostly comparable, at least for hypercholesterolemia, sedentary lifestyle, smoking status and alcohol consumption. Conclusion: Spouses' OC was independently associated with several cardiovascular risk factors in men. These results might indicate that socioeconomic status of the couple, and not only individual characteristics, should be taken into account for a better understanding of cardiovascular risk.