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Is the cardiovascular risk profile of people living in Roma settlements worse in comparison with the majority population in Slovakia?

Abstract

Objectives

Roma constitute a large minority in several Central European countries, with a mostly disadvantaged societal and health position. The aim of this study was to assess biological and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk factors in people living in Roma settlements and to compare them with non-Roma.

Methods

We used data from the cross-sectional Hepa-Meta study conducted in Slovakia. The sample consisted of 452 Roma (mean age = 34.7, 35.2 % men) and 403 non-Roma (mean age = 33.5, 45.9 % men). The effect of ethnicity was analysed using logistic regression adjusted for age and stratified by gender.

Results

Roma were more likely to have obesity, low HDL cholesterol, normal total cholesterol, and to smoke than non-Roma. Moreover, Roma women were more likely to have abdominal obesity and Roma men to have normal LDL cholesterol than non-Roma. No significant differences by ethnicity were found regarding hypertriglyceridaemia, hyperglycaemia and hypertension.

Conclusions

Our study confirmed higher rates of some CVD risk factors in Roma compared with non-Roma. Our findings call for interventions aiming at decreasing CVD risks and improving health literacy among Roma, to reduce CVD morbidity and premature mortality.

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Acknowledgements

This project was partially supported by Roche Slovensko, s.r.o., and the Agency of the Slovak Ministry of Education for the Structural Funds of the EU, under project ITMS: 26220120058.

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Correspondence to Ingrid Babinska.

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HEPA-META team: Jarčuška Peter, Pella Daniel, Mareková Mária, Siegfried Leonard, Pastvová Lýdia, Fedačko Ján, Kollárová Jana, Dražilová Sylvia, Rosenberger Jaroslav, Schréter Ivan, Kristián Pavol, Veseliny Eduard, Janičko Martin, Virág Ladislav, Birková Anna, Kmeťová Marta, Halánová Monika, Cáriková Katarína, Petrášová Darina, Lovayová Viera, Merkovská Lucia, Jedličková Lucia and Valková Ivana.

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Babinska, I., Veselska, Z.D., Bobakova, D. et al. Is the cardiovascular risk profile of people living in Roma settlements worse in comparison with the majority population in Slovakia?. Int J Public Health 58, 417–425 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-013-0463-4

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Keywords

  • Roma
  • Ethnicity
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Biological risk factors
  • Participatory approach