The epidemic proportions of overweight, obesity and diabetes in most European countries stress the need for the implementation of an effective action plan for the prevention of cardiovascular (CV) disease. This ques-tionnaire study was designed to evaluate the viewpoint of the general population regarding the relative significance of CV risk factors in the cumulative risk of CV disease.
All participants answered a questionnaire regarding the self-reported presence of CV disease risk factors and the perceived notion of having excess weight. They were also asked to list CV disease risk factors, ranking them in order of perceived relative significance. Participants were also subjected to total cholesterol measurement using a portable total cholesterol testing meter.
The survey population consisted of 32,736 individuals (49.1% males). According to participant self reporting, 32.9% were smokers, 24.7% had hypertension, 9.8% had diabetes, 74.8% reported having stress, 41.9% had insufficient physical activity and 43.3% had hyperlipidemia. The prevalence of overweight was 43.9% and the prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) was 18.6%. Only 24.4% of participants reported that they had excess weight. The 45.2% of the ques-tioned individuals considered that stress was the most important CV risk factor.
Despite the high prevalence of overweight and obesity, the majority of participants were unaware of the contribution of these well-established risk factors to the occurrence of CV disease. Improving public awareness is impor-tant in order to control the epidemic proportions of these modifiable risk factors.
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