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1.  Relationship between Metabolic Syndrome and Its Components with Psychological Distress 
Background. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) and psychological distress are hypothesized to have a bidirectional relationship. According to their high prevalence in most populations, appraisal of this theory would be of great clinical and research interest. Methods. Data were available as part of the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP). A total of 9553 men and women aged ≥19 years from three counties in central Iran were selected. Measurements consisted of serologic tests, anthropometrics, and self-reported 12-item general health questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis was used to find the association between MetS, MetS components, and distress level. Results. The mean age of 9553 participants (50% male) was 38.7 ± 15.8 years. After adjusting for demographic factors, MetS (OR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.01–1.37), central obesity (OR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.15–1.49), and hypertension (OR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.42–1.70) were associated with high distress level. However, after adding smoking status and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to the adjustment factors, hypertension (OR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.53–1.98) and central obesity (OR = 1.41, 95% CI: 1.17–1.55), but not the MetS, remained significantly associated with distress level. Conclusion. The presence of association between the MetS as well as its key components and high distress level signifies the importance of integrating psychological assessment and intervention in the standard management of MetS patients.
PMCID: PMC3941148  PMID: 24672543
2.  Evaluation of the Effects of Vaccinium arctostaphylos L. Fruit Extract on Serum Lipids and hs-CRP Levels and Oxidative Stress in Adult Patients with Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial 
Background. Dyslipidemia produces atherosclerosis, which in turn results in coronary artery disease (CAD). Atherosclerosis is being considered as an inflammatory disease. Vaccinium arctostaphylos L. is a plant with fruits rich in anthocyanins. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of fruit extract of this plant on serum levels of lipids, hs-CRP, and malondialdehyde (MDA) as a marker of oxidative stress, in hyperlipidemic adult patients. Methods. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 50 hyperlipidemic adult patients were randomly and equally assigned to receive either medicinal (V. arctostaphylos fruit extract) or placebo capsules twice daily for 4 weeks. Each medicinal capsule contained 45 ± 2 mg of anthocyanins. Fasting serum levels of total cholesterol, TG, LDL-C, HDL-C, hs-CRP, and MDA were obtained before and after the intervention and compared. Results. V. arctostaphylos fruit extract significantly reduced total cholesterol (P < 0.001), LDL-C (P = 0.004), TG (P < 0.001), and MDA (P = 0.013) compared to placebo but did not have any significant effect on HDL-C (P = 0.631) and hs-CRP (P = 0.190). Conclusion. Fruit extract of Vaccinium arctostaphylos has beneficial effects on serum lipid profile and oxidative stress in hyperlipidemic adult patients. Therefore, it could be considered as a supplement for treatment of dyslipidemia and prevention of atherosclerosis development.
PMCID: PMC3920853  PMID: 24587807
3.  The Impacts of Cardiac Rehabilitation Program on Echocardiographic Parameters in Coronary Artery Disease Patients with Left Ventricular Dysfunction 
Introduction. The accurate impact of exercise on coronary artery disease (CAD) patients with left ventricular dysfunction is still debatable. We studied the effects of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) on echocardiography parameters in CAD patients with ventricular dysfunction. Methods. Patients with CAD who had ventricular dysfunction were included into an exercise-based rehabilitation program and received rehabilitation for eight weeks. All subjects underwent echocardiography before and at the end of the rehabilitation program. The echocardiography parameters, including left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), LV end-diastolic (LVEDD) and end-systolic diameters (LVESD), and peak exercise capacity measured in metabolic equivalents (METs), were assessed. Results. Seventy patients (mean age = 57.5 ± 10.2 years, 77.1% males) were included into the study. At the end of rehabilitation period, the LVEF increased from 45.14 ± 5.77% to 50.44 ± 8.70% (P < 0.001), and the peak exercise capacity increased from 8.00 ± 2.56 to 10.08 ± 3.00 METs (P < 0.001). There was no significant change in LVEDD (54.63 ± 12.96 to 53.86 ± 8.95 mm, P = 0.529) or in LVESD (38.91 ± 10.83 to 38.09 ± 9.04 mm, P = 0.378) after rehabilitation. Conclusion. Exercise training in postmyocardial infarction patients with ventricular dysfunction could have beneficial effects on cardiac function without adversely affecting LV remodeling or causing serious cardiac complications.
PMCID: PMC3891233  PMID: 24459599
4.  Does significant weight reduction in men with coronary artery disease manage risk factors after cardiac rehabilitation program? 
Vast majority of cardiac patients who refer to cardiac rehabilitation program (CRP) are obese and obesity is associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). So, the aim of this study is to investigate the effects of CRP on obesity indexes, lipid profiles, and functional capacity (FC) in obese men with CHD and to explore whether significant weight reduction affected these risk factors and FC or not.
Materials and Methods:
In an observational study, we evaluated 536 patients, including 464 non-obese men and 72 obese men. All participants completed CRP for 2 months; then, obese patients were divided into two groups: patients with weight reduction ≥ 5% and patients who didn’t have significant weight reduction. Data were analyzed with SPSS software version 15. For comparing the mean of outcomes independent t-tests and paired t-tests were used.
Results showed following CRP, non-obese men had significant improvement in obesity indexes (P = 0.00), lipid profiles (P < 0.05), and FC (P = 0.00) and in obese men, favorable improvement were seen in obesity indexes (P = 0.00), FC (P = 0.00), and total cholesterol (P = 0.02). Comparing two groups revealed that there were significant differences in obesity indexes, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio. In addition, comparing subgroup of obese patients revealed that there were significant differences in FC (P = 0.00) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/ high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio (P = 0.04).
CRP has more advantage in management of obesity, FC, and lipid profiles in both obese and non-obese patients. Also, weight reduction may cause greater improvement in FC and fitness levels in obese men with CHD.
PMCID: PMC3906786  PMID: 24523781
Coronary artery disease; obesity; risk factor cardiac rehabilitation program; weight reduction
5.  Association between Salt Intake and Albuminuria in Normotensive and Hypertensive Individuals 
Background. There is a little published data regarding the association between salt intake and albuminuria as an important alarm for progression of cardiovascular and renal dysfunction. We aimed to assess this relationship to emphasize the major role of restricting salt intake to minimize albuminuria and prevent these life-threatening events. Methods. The study population comprised 820 individuals. Participants were assigned to groups as follows: normal albuminuria, slight albuminuria, and clinical albuminuria. Daily salt intake was assessed on the basis of 24-hour urinary sodium excretion, since urinary sodium excretion largely equals sodium intake. Results. In normotensive participants, the mean level of urine albumin was higher in those who had higher amounts of salt intake with a significantly upward trend (the mean urinary albumin level in low-salt-diet group, in medium-salt-intake group, and in high-salt-intake group was 42.70 ± 36.42, 46.89 ± 38.91, and 53.38 ± 48.23, resp., (P = 0.017)). There was a significant positive correlation between 24-hour urinary sodium secretion and the level of urine albumin (beta = 0.130, P < 0.001). The amount of salt intake was significantly associated with urine albumin concentration (beta = 3.969, SE = 1.671, P = 0.018). Conclusion. High salt intake was shown to be associated with higher level of microalbuminuria even adjusted for potential underlying risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3793292  PMID: 24171109
6.  Body Mass Index, Waist-circumference and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Iranian Adults: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
Considering the main effect of obesity on chronic non-communicable diseases, this study was performed to assess the association between body mass index (BMI), waist-circumference (WC), cardiometabolic risk factors and to corroborate whether either or both BMI and WC are independently associated with the risk factors in a sample of Iranian adults. This cross-sectional study was performed on data from baseline survey of Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP). The study was done on 12,514 randomly-selected adults in Isfahan, Najafabad and Arak counties in 2000-2001. Ages of the subjects were recorded. Fasting blood glucose (FBG), 2-hour post-load glucose (2hpp), serum lipids, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP), BMI, WC, smoking status, and total daily physical activity were determined. Increase in BMI and WC had a significant positive relation with the mean of FBG, 2hpp, SBP, DBP, serum lipids, except for HDL-C (p<0.001 for all). After adjustment for age, smoking, physical activity, socioeconomic status (SES), and BMI, the highest odds ratio (OR) (95% CI) for diabetes mellitus (DM) according to WC was 3.13 (1.93-5.08) and 1.99 (1.15-3.44) in women and men respectively. Moreover, the highest ORs based on BMI with adjustment for age, smoking, physical activity, SES, and WC were for dyslipidaemia (DLP) [1.97 (1.58-2.45) in women and 2.96 (2.41-3.63) in men]. The use of BMI or WC alone in the models caused to enhance all ORs. When both BMI and WC were entered in the model, the ORs for all risk factors, in men, according to BMI, were more compared to WC. However, in women, ORs for DM and hypertension (HTN) in WC quartiles were more than in BMI quartiles. BMI is the better predictor of DM, HTN, and DLP in men compared to WC. Conversely, in women, WC is a superior predictor than BMI, particularly for DM and HTN. Furthermore, the measurement of both WC and BMI in Iranian adults may be a better predictor of traditional risk factors of CVDs compared to BMI or WC alone.
PMCID: PMC3805889  PMID: 24288953
Body mass index; Diabetes mellitus; Dyslipidaemia; Hypertension; Obesity; Risk Factor; Waist-circumference; Iran
7.  White Rice Consumption and CVD Risk Factors among Iranian Population 
Association between white rice intake and risk factors of cardiovascular diseases remained uncertain. Most of the previous published studies have been done in western countries with different lifestyles, and scant data are available from the Middle East region, including Iran. This cross-sectional study was conducted in the structure of Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP) to assess the association between white rice consumption and risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. In the present study, 3,006 men were included from three counties of Isfahan, Najafabad, and Arak by multistage cluster random-sampling method. Dietary intake was assessed with a 49-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Laboratory assessment was done in a standardized central laboratory. Outcome variables were fasting blood glucose, serum lipid levels, and anthropometric variables. Socioeconomic and demographic data, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI) were considered covariates and were adjusted in analysis. In this study, Student's t-test, chi-square test, and logistic regression were used for statistical analyses. Means of BMI among those subjects who consumed white rice less than 7 times per week and people who consumed 7-14 times per week were almost similar—24.8±4.3 vs 24.5±4.7 kg/m2. There was no significant association between white rice consumption and risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, such as fasting blood sugar and serum lipid profiles. Although whole grain consumption has undeniable effect on preventing cardiovascular disease risk, white rice consumption was not associated with cardiovascular risks among Iranian men in the present study. Further prospective studies with a semi-quantitative FFQ or dietary record questionnaire, representing type and portion-size of rice intake as well as cooking methods and other foods consumed with rice that affect glycaemic index (GI) of rice, are required to support our finding and to illustrate the probable mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3702347  PMID: 23930344
Cardiovascular diseases; Diet; Risk factors; White rice; Iran
8.  Developing an appropriate model for self-care of hypertensive patients: first experience from EMRO 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(4):232-240.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) constitute 53% of deaths above the age of 30; 54% of these deaths are attributed to high blood pressure. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the main cause of mortality in the world. Hypertension accounts for 13% of mortalities and 6% of morbidities and is one of the main risk factors that cause loss of healthy life years. Blood pressure is not optimally controlled even among those who are aware of their disease. Previous studies showed that apart from pharmacological treatment, lifestyle improvement can also play a significant role in the prevention of high blood pressure CVDs. Self-care among them has been addressed in several previous studies. There are few self-care programs in Iran, but no study has been conducted on blood pressure.
In this study the primary model is designed and then revised, and in the pilot study the feasibility of the project was approved and the final model presented.
The current project proposes a model for self-care of hypertensive patients and their families, and is based on education of health care providers and patients in such a way that patients can control their illness.
The model can be implemented at a national scale.
PMCID: PMC3746943  PMID: 23970918
Self-Care; Hypertension; Model
9.  Sex based levels of C-reactive protein and white blood cell count in subjects with metabolic syndrome: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cell (WBC) are proinflammatory markers. They are major pathophysiological for the development of metabolic syndrome (MetS). This study aimed to address the independent associations between MetS and WBC counts and serum CRP levels and evaluation of their magnitude in relation to the MetS, based on the sex in the Iranian adults.
Materials and Methods:
In this cross-sectional study, subjects who met the MetS criteria, based on the Adult Treatment Panel III were selected from the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program database. A questionnaire containing the demographic data, weight, height, waist, and hip circumference of the respondents was completed for each person. Blood pressure was measured and the anthropometric measurements were done, and fasting blood samples were taken for 2 h postload plasma glucose (2 hpp). Serum [total, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein] levels of cholesterol, triglyceride, and CRP as well as WBC counts were determined. The univariate analyses were carried out to assess the relation between the CRP levels, WBC counts with the MetS in both sexes the.
In men with the abdominal obesity, the higher levels of WBC count, high serum triglyceride and blood glucose levels, a low serum HDL level, and raised systolic and diastolic blood pressure were observed. However, the higher serum CRP levels were only observed in those with the low serum HDL-cholesterol levels. The mean values of the WBC counts were statistically different between the men with and without MetS, but the mean values of the CRP levels were similar between the two groups. In women, the mean values of WBC count and CRP levels were statistically different in the subjects with and without a MetS components (except for the low serum HDL levels and high diastolic blood pressure for the WBC measures and abdominal obesity for the CRP measures) and for those with and without MetS. The age and smoking adjusted changes in the CRP levels and WBC counts correlated with the number of Mets components in the women.
The findings of this study suggest substantial implications for the prevention and management of the MetS and atherosclerotic diseases, as these involve the suppression of inflammatory conditions rather than the incitement of anti-inflammatory conditions.
PMCID: PMC3818614  PMID: 24250693
C-reactive protein level; metabolic syndrome; white blood cell count
10.  Metabolic Syndrome in Iranian Youths: A Population-Based Study on Junior and High Schools Students in Rural and Urban Areas 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2013;2013:738485.
Aim. The present population-based study aimed to assess prevalence of metabolic syndrome and itsrelated components in Iranian youth in the different sex, age, and residential subgroups. Method. Overall, 1039 junior high school and 953 high school students were selected using multistage random sampling. Fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels were determined. Trained individuals measured waist circumference and blood pressure. Subjects with MetS were selected according to two definitions provided by the IDF and de Ferranti. Results. Among girls in intervention area, hypertriglyceridemia was more prevalent in rural than in urban areas using IDF definition. Significant differences were observed between boys in rural and urban areas regarding some components of metabolic syndrome including hypertriglyceridemia and high waist circumference. Besides, boys who are residents in urban areas had higher blood pressure, as well as higher waist circumference, than boys in rural areas. Conclusion. Our youth population is at significant risk of developing metabolic syndrome, and the pattern of this phenomenon seems to be discrepant in boys as well as in rural and urban areas probably due to the different lifestyle aspects, genetic factors, and racial differences.
PMCID: PMC3683475  PMID: 23819128
11.  Effects of Pioglitazone on Asymmetric Dimethylarginine and Components of the Metabolic Syndrome in Nondiabetic Patients (EPICAMP Study): A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial 
PPAR Research  2013;2013:358074.
The present trial aimed to investigate the effects of pioglitazone on the serum level of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), a marker of endothelial function, and some indices of inflammation and glucose and lipid metabolism in nondiabetic metabolic syndrome patients. 104 eligible participants (57% female; age between 20 and 70) were enrolled in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial and were randomized to receive either pioglitazone (uptitrated to 30 mg/day) or matching placebo for 24 weeks. Participants were clinically examined and a blood sample was obtained at baseline and at the end of the trial. Pioglitazone significantly improved C-reactive protein level irrespective of changes in insulin sensitivity. Compared with the placebo group, alanine and aspartate transaminases were decreased and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was increased after treatment with pioglitazone. A considerably greater weight gain was also recorded in the intervention group. We failed to observe any significant changes in serum ADMA in either group and between groups with and without adjustment for age, sex, and components of the metabolic syndrome. In a nutshell, pioglitazone seems to have positive effects on lipid profile, liver transaminases, and systemic inflammation. However, its previously demonstrated endothelial function-improving properties do not seem to be mediated by ADMA.
PMCID: PMC3654334  PMID: 23710164
12.  Association of apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein A, and the its ratio with body fat distribution 
To evaluate the association of apolipoprotein B (apoB), apolipoprotein A (apoA), and apoB/apoA ratio with the body fat indicators in patients with stable angina pectoris (SA).
Materials and Methods:
One hundred and twenty two participants aged 40-60 years old, with a mean age of 52.1 ± 7.2 years and SA, were recruited for the present study. Body weight, height, and waist circumference (WC) were measured, and waist to height ratio (WHtR) was calculated. After 12 hours of fasting, a blood sample was obtained and serum levels of apoB and apoA were measured and the apoB/apoA ratio was calculated. These patients underwent an abdominal computerized tomography scan (CTS) to assess visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (VAT, SAT). Linear regressions were computed to assess the relation of apoB, apoA, and their ratio with various measurements of adiposity (VAT, SAT, WC, and WHtR), with adjustment for age, sex, and BMI ≥ 25, WC ≥ 80 in women and WC ≥ 90 in men and WHtR ≥ 0.59.
From totally 123 patients with SA with a mean age of 52.1 ± 7.2 years, 44.7% male and 55.3% women were entered. Significant positive associations were found between visceral fat area and the apoB/apoA ratio (P = 0.02, β = 0.2), and significant negative correlations were observed between visceral fat area and apoA concentrations (P = 0.04, β = −0.2).
As abdominal fat accumulation is associated with other risk factors such as apolipoproteins in ischemic patients, then we most focus on control of these factors.
PMCID: PMC3793379  PMID: 24124431
Apolipoprotein A; apolipoprotein B; apolipoprotein B/apolipoprotein A; cardiovascular disease; intra-abdominal fat
13.  Predictors of Metabolic Syndrome in the Iranian Population: Waist Circumference, Body Mass Index, or Waist to Hip Ratio? 
Cholesterol  2013;2013:198384.
This study aimed to investigate whether body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), or waist to hip ratio (WHR) could be a better predictor of metabolic syndrome and, if so, what would be the cutoff points for these surrogates to appropriately differentiate metabolic syndrome in different age and sex subgroups. Methods. The present cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of Isfahan Cohort Study (ICS). In total, 468 individuals (194 with and 274 subjects without metabolic syndrome) according to the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP-III) criteria were selected. Anthropometric indices were measured and plotted using receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Results. According to ROC curve analysis, WC and WHR parameters were better indicators of metabolic syndrome compared to BMI in women, whereas in men WHR had a lower discriminating value compared to the other two parameters. Among these three anthropometric parameters, BMI had a lower sensitivity and WC and WHR both had a higher sensitivity for predicting metabolic syndrome in women compared with in men. The cut points for WC were nearly equal in men and women, 90.3 versus 90.0, respectively. Women had higher cut points for BMI (28.5 kg/m2) compared to men (26.0 kg/m2). Our results showed the highest sensitivity and specificity for WC cut points specially in women. To predict metabolic syndrome, we looked into optimal age-specific cut points for BMI, WC, and WHR. The results indicated that WC had the highest discriminating value compared to other indicators in the different age subgroups. The optimal cut points for all three parameters gradually increased with age. Conclusion. Our results demonstrated that regardless of gender and age variables, WC could be a preferred parameter for predicting metabolic syndrome compared to BMI and WHR in Iranian population.
PMCID: PMC3619538  PMID: 23634297
14.  Autonomic function change following a supervised exercise program in patients with congestive heart failure 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(2):150-156.
Few studies have investigated changes in autonomic function after training in patients with cardiovascular diseases, particularly patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Heart rate recovery (HRR) is a strong predictor of mortality in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of 8 weeks of supervised exercise training on autonomic function, which were assessed by heart rate, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and rate-pressure product (RPP) in CHF patients.
65 patients aged 57-82 years with CHF were assigned to two groups randomly. The first group received a supervised 8-week aerobic training program of 30-45 min sessions, 3 days per week on alternate days, while controls received standard medical care and were followed up. Body weight, body mass index, functional capacity, resting heart rate, HRR, resting systolic blood pressure, peak heart rate, peak systolic blood pressure, and RPP were measured before and after the study period. Medications and diet recommendations remained unchanged in both groups during the study period.
The exercise group consisted of 33 patients with mean age of 61.54 ± 5.89 years and the controls were 32 patients with mean age of 60.94 ± 5.03 years. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures revealed a statistically significant difference in the exercise group compared to the control group regarding body mass index, resting heart rate, heart rate recover, functional capacity, peak heart rate, peak systolic blood pressure, peak RPP after 8 weeks (P ≤ 0.05).
In conclusion, a multidisciplinary CR program with supervised exercise training support significantly improves functional capacity and autonomic function in CHF patients. Therefore, a supervised and guided exercise training program is safe and beneficial for patients with CHF with different etiologies.
PMCID: PMC3653242  PMID: 23690816
Aerobic Exercise; Cardiorespiratory Fitness; Hemodynamics; Autonomic Function; CHF
15.  Healthy Bread Initiative: Methods, Findings, and Theories—Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
The scientific evidences show that the content, baking methods, and types of bread can make health impacts. Bread, as a major part of Iranian diet, demonstrates a significant potential to be targeted as health promotion subject. Healthy Food for Healthy Communities (HFHC) was a project of Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP), consisting of a wide variety of strategies, like Healthy Bread (HB) Initiative. The HB Initiative was designed to improve the behaviour of both producers and consumers, mainly aiming at making high-fibre, low-salt bread, eliminating the use of baking soda, providing enough rest time for dough before baking (at least one hour), and enough baking time (at least one minute in oven). A workshop was held for volunteer bakers, and a baker-to-baker training protocol under direct supervision was designed for future volunteers. Cereal Organization was persuaded to provide less refined flour that contained more bran. Health messages in support of new breads were disseminated by media and at bakeries by health professionals. Evaluation of the HB Initiative was done using before-after assessments and population surveys. While HB was baked in 1 (0.01%) bakery at baseline, 402 (41%) bakeries in the intervention area joined the HB Initiative in 2009. Soda was completely eliminated and fibre significantly increased from 4±0.4 g% before study to 12±0.6 g% after the intervention (p<0.001). The preparation and baking times remarkably increased. Wastage of bread decreased from 13±1.8 g% to 2±0.5 g% and was expressed as the most important advantage of this initiative by consumers. People who lived in Isfahan city consumed whole bread 6 times more than those who lived in reference area Arak (p<0.001). The HB Initiative managed to add new breads as a healthy choice that were compatible with local dishes and made a model to solve the long-standing problems of bread. It used various health promotion approaches but was best consistent with Beattie's model.
PMCID: PMC3702358  PMID: 23617204
Bread; Community trial; Health promotion; Nutrition; Iran
16.  Validation of the Revised Stressful Life Event Questionnaire Using a Hybrid Model of Genetic Algorithm and Artificial Neural Networks 
Objectives. Stressors have a serious role in precipitating mental and somatic disorders and are an interesting subject for many clinical and community-based studies. Hence, the proper and accurate measurement of them is very important. We revised the stressful life event (SLE) questionnaire by adding weights to the events in order to measure and determine a cut point. Methods. A total of 4569 adults aged between 18 and 85 years completed the SLE questionnaire and the general health questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12). A hybrid model of genetic algorithm (GA) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) was applied to extract the relation between the stressful life events (evaluated by a 6-point Likert scale) and the GHQ score as a response variable. In this model, GA is used in order to set some parameter of ANN for achieving more accurate results. Results. For each stressful life event, the number is defined as weight. Among all stressful life events, death of parents, spouse, or siblings is the most important and impactful stressor in the studied population. Sensitivity of 83% and specificity of 81% were obtained for the cut point 100. Conclusion. The SLE-revised (SLE-R) questionnaire despite simplicity is a high-performance screening tool for investigating the stress level of life events and its management in both community and primary care settings. The SLE-R questionnaire is user-friendly and easy to be self-administered. This questionnaire allows the individuals to be aware of their own health status.
PMCID: PMC3580934  PMID: 23476715
17.  Differences in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in boys and girls based on various definitions 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(1):70-76.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) is increasing among children and adolescents. However, the prevalence of this disorder varies based on its different definitions. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of MetS in Iranian adolescents in junior high and high schools according to the definitions provided by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and De Ferranti.
Overall, 1039 junior high school and 953 high school students were selected using multistage random sampling. Demographic data was collected using validated questionnaires. Fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels were determined. Waist circumference and blood pressure were measured by trained individuals. Subjects with MetS were selected according to two definitions provided by the IDF and De Ferranti. Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to compare the prevalence of MetS and its components based on sex, school level, and the two definitions.
The mean age of junior high and high school students was 13.11 ± 1.21ad 15.93 ± 1.07 years old, respectively. The prevalence of MetS among all participants was 4.8% and 12.7% according to the definitions by the IDF and De Ferranti, respectively. It was significantly higher among boys compared to girls. According to the IDF definition, low HDL-C and hypertension were the most frequent components. Based on the De Ferranti, abdominal obesity and hypertriglyceridemia were the most frequent components.
The prevalence of MetS was higher in both groups of students based on De Ferranti definition compared to the IDF definition. The prevalence was not significantly different in boys and girls. Further studies to investigate the most suitable definition of MetS for Iranian adolescents are necessary.
PMCID: PMC3653251  PMID: 23696762
Metabolic Syndrome; Adolescence; International Diabetes Federation and De Ferranti
18.  Socioeconomic characteristics and controlled hypertension: Evidence from Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(1):77-81.
Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. It affects approximately 18.0% of Iranian adults. This study aimed to estimate age-adjusted prevalence of hypertension and its control among Iranian persons older 19 years of age. It also tried to find and socioeconomic factors associated with hypertension control in Iranian population.
In Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP) subjects were selected by multistage random sampling. The participants completed questionnaires containing demographic information, lifestyle habits, medical history, and consumption of relevant medications, especially antihypertensive agents. Income, marital status, and educational level were considered as socioeconomic factors. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg, or taking antihypertensive medications. Controlled hypertension was considered as systolic blood pressure < 140 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure < 90 mmHg among hypertensive subjects.
The prevalence of hypertension and controlled hypertension was 18.9% and 20.9%, respectively. We found significant relationships between hypertension and marital status, education, and income. At age ≥ 65 years old, odds ratio (OR) was 19.09 [95% confidence interval (CI): 15.01-24.28] for hypertension. Middle family income (OR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.58-0.87) and education level of 6-12 years (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.25-0.35) were significantly associated with increased risk of hypertension (P = 0.001). Among subjects aging 65 years old or higher, the OR of controlled hypertension was 2.64 (95% CI: 1.61-4.33). Married subjects had a higher OR for controlled hypertension (OR: 2.19; 95% CI: 1.36-3.52). Obesity had no significant relationships with controlled hypertension.
The IHHP data showed significant relationships between some socioeconomic factors and controlled hypertension. Therefore, as current control rates for hypertension in Iran are clearly unacceptable, we recommend preventive measures to control hypertension in all social strata of the Iranian population.
PMCID: PMC3653252  PMID: 23696763
Socioeconomic Factor; High Blood Pressure; Control
19.  Social norms of cigarette and hookah smokers in Iranian universities 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(1):45-50.
First experiences of tobacco use usually occur in adolescence. The recognition of social norms leading to youth smoking is hence necessary. We tried to assess the social norms among Iranian young cigarette and hookah smokers.
This cross-sectional study was conducted on 451 girls and 361 boys aging 20-25 years old who entered Isfahan and Kashan Universities (Iran) in 2007. Demographic factors (age, gender, and age at smoking onset) cigarette and hookah smoking status, having a smoking father or smoking friends and four related social norms were recorded. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to separately determine associations between hookah and cigarette smoking and the four social norm variables.
Cigarette and hookah smokers had significant differences with nonsmokers in two social norms: “Perceived smoking by important characters” [odds ratio (OR) = 1.35 in cigarette smokers and 1.58 in hookah smokers; P < 0.001] and “smoking makes gatherings friendly” (OR = 3.62 in cigarette smokers and 6.16 in hookah smokers; P < 0.001). Furthermore, cigarette and hookah smoking were significantly associated with having smoking friends.
Highlighting the social norms leading to cigarette and hookah smoking may help policy makers develop comprehensive interventions to prevent smoking among adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3653255  PMID: 23696759
Cigarette; Hookah; Smoking; Social Norm
20.  Physical activity, sex, and socioeconomic status: A population based study 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(1):51-60.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate physical activity by socioeconomic status (SES) and sex in an Iranian adult population.
In a cross-sectional study, 6622 adults, who participated in the Isfahan Healthy Heart program (IHHP) surveys in 2004 and 2005 and were living in urban areas, were studied. Daily leisure time, household, occupational, and transportation physical activity, and total physical activity were calculated and compared in 3 socioeconomic status groups classified by the two-step cluster analysis procedure.
Statistically significant variations were found in all physical activity levels, except transportation, by sex. Men were more active than women in all fields, except household physical activity. Leisure time physical activity of men and women were significantly higher in higher SES levels. There was an opposite correlation between SES and total physical activity in men.
Considering the importance of physical activity as a component of a healthy lifestyle, differences among varying socioeconomic status and sex must be considered while planning for healthy lifestyle programs. Women with low SES, in particular, may need more attention.
PMCID: PMC3653259  PMID: 23696760
Physical Activity; Socioeconomic Status; Leisure Time; Gender; Cluster Analysis
21.  Parental perceptions of weight status of their children 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(1):61-69.
Understanding the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of parents is important for planning appropriately to control their children’s weight. We aimed to study these variables in parents of normal, underweight, overweight, and obese children.
This cross-sectional study targeted the parents of normal, underweight, overweight, and obese children, who were selected using multistage random sampling method. The parents’ knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about the weight status of their children, weight management, obesity, diet, lifestyle, and related psychosocial factors were evaluated using a validated questionnaire. The questionnaire, which had been validated, consisted of 12 demographic, 8 knowledge, 19 attitude and beliefs, and 25 behavior questions. Mean knowledge, attitude and beliefs, and behavior scores were compared across three subgroups of parents. Student’s independent t-test, ANOVA, and Kruskal-Wallis test were used to study the correlation between different demographic and socioeconomic factors, and the studied variables.
90% of parents were aware that obesity is a disease, and 92% knew that eating too much fast food would lead to obesity in children. Only 5% assumed that obese children are healthier than non-obese children. The mean scores of the three subgroups showed no significant difference in knowledge, attitude and beliefs, and behavior. Families with fathers, whose education level was higher than high school diploma, rated their children’s weight status as overweight or obese significantly less than families with fathers, whose education level was high school diploma or lower (8.5% vs. 16.5%, respectively, P = 0.014). Only 12% of parents tried to help their children lose weight at least once, and only 6% arranged sport activities for the family members. In 57% and 41% of families, the child, respectively, decided how much time was enough to watch TV, and how much chocolates and sweets to eat. 46% of children watched TV for more than 2 hours/day, and 49% of children watched TV while eating meals. The mean total score of boys’ parents was significantly lower than that of girls’ parents (P < 0.05). Families with low income, with no medical insurance, or not owning a house thought that the cost of registration in sport activities for children was too high (P < 0.03).
Some parents unreasonably rated the weight status of their children as overweight/obese. It is suggested that further studies be carried out to evaluate and improve parents’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding their children’s weight.
PMCID: PMC3653261  PMID: 23696761
Children; Obesity; Overweight; Knowledge; Attitude; Belief; Behavior
22.  Alteration in unhealthy nutrition behaviors in adolescents through community intervention: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(1):89-97.
Primary prevention of chronic diseases has been suggested to initiate health promotion activities from childhoods. The impact of Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP), a comprehensive community trial, on unhealthy snacks and fast food intake changes was evaluated in Iranian adolescents between 2001 and 2007.
Healthy Heart Promotion from Childhood (HHPC) as one of the IHHP interventional projects was conducted in adolescents aged 11-18 years, selected randomly by multistage random sampling. Isfahan and Najafabad districts were intervention areas (IA) and Arak district was reference area (RA). The baseline and post-intervention surveys were conducted on 1941 and 1997 adolescents, respectively. Healthy lifestyle interventions were performed during the 2nd phase of the study targeting about 410000 students in urban and rural areas of the IA via education, environmental and legislation activities. Dietary intake was assessed annually using a fifty-item food frequency questionnaire in both communities.
The interaction of year×area demonstrated that the consumption of unhealthy snacks decreased significantly in middle school boys of RA compared to IA (P for interaction=0.01). However, middle school girls (P for interaction = 0.002) and both sexes of high school students in IA showed a significant reduction in fast food consumption against RA (P for interaction < 0.001).
The HHPC interventions made some improvement in fast food consumption. It did not show significant decrease regarding unhealthy snacks in adolescents. Proper and higher dose of interventions may be effective in achieving this goal.
PMCID: PMC3653262  PMID: 23696765
Nutrition; Dietary Behaviour; Adolescent; Lifestyle; Community Trial
23.  Improvement of dietary oil consumption following a community trial in a developing country: The role of translational research in health promotion 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(1):29-37.
This study aimed to determine the effects of the interventions of Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP) on the type of oil consumed at the population level. It also tried to assess how this strategy has been effective as a health policy.
The IHHP, a six-year community intervention program (2001-07), aimed at health promotion through the modification of cardiovascular disease risk factors. It was performed in Isfahan and Najafabad counties (intervention area) and Arak county (reference area), all in central Iran. This study targeted the whole population of over 2,000,000 in the intervention area. The findings of annual independent sample surveys were compared with the reference area. Dietary interventions were performed as educational, environmental, and/or legislative strategies.
From 2001 to 2007, the mean of changes for hydrogenated oil consumption was -3.2 and -3.6, and for liquid oil it was 3.6 and 2.8 times per week in the intervention and reference areas, respectively (P < 0.001). According to Commerce office record, the increase in liquid oil distribution during 2000-2007 was significantly higher in Isfahan than Arak (34% vs. 25%).
The effects of the simple, comprehensive, and integrated action-oriented interventions of our program could influence policy making and its results at the community level. It can be adopted by other developing countries.
PMCID: PMC3653266  PMID: 23696757
Oil Consumption; Hydrogenated Oil; Liquid Oil; Community Trial
24.  The impact of a community trial on the pharmacological treatment in the individuals with the metabolic syndrome: findings from the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program, 2001-2007 
Archives of Medical Science : AMS  2012;8(6):1009-1017.
Pharmacological therapy is a crucial step in the management of individuals with the metabolic syndrome, when lifestyle modifications alone cannot achieve the therapeutic goals. The present study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of comprehensive interventions with the pharmacological treatment in individuals with the metabolic syndrome.
Material and methods
A cross-sectional population-based survey examined a sample of adults before and after conducting a community trial. Physical examination and blood sampling, data regarding the demographic characteristics, medical status and history of medication use were obtained. Pharmacologic treatment related to metabolic syndrome's components was also determined.
The most common pharmacologic agents consumed by individuals with metabolic syndrome were β-blockers (26.1% and 30.4% in 2001 and 2007, respectively), followed by lipid-lowering agents (5.4% and 14% in 2001 and 2007, respectively), with significant differences before and after intervention. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was higher in women than in men both before (36.4% vs. 14%) and after the community trial (26.1% vs. 16%, respectively) in the intervention areas (p < 0.001).
We found a significant increase in medication use to control blood pressure and dyslipidemia among the individuals with the metabolic syndrome, notably in the intervention areas. In addition to the population approach, the high-risk approach should be considered in community trials for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
PMCID: PMC3542491  PMID: 23319975
metabolic syndrome; pharmacological treatment; community trial; Iran
25.  Metabolic syndrome in Iranian elderly 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2012;7(4):157-161.
This study aimed to compare Iranian elderly with the middle-aged population in terms of the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components.
This cross-sectional study was conducted using the data from the third phase of the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program. Male and female residents of Isfahan over 19 years of age were selected by multistage cluster random sampling. A questionnaire including demographic characteristics, health status, medical history, medications used, as well as waist circumference, weight, height, and systolic and diastolic blood pressures was completed for all participants. Fasting blood samples were obtained from all subjects and examined for fasting blood sugar and lipid profile. T-test and Mann-Whitney test were used for quantitative data and chi-square test was performed for qualitative data.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in individuals aged over 60 years was significantly higher than those under 60 (49.5% vs. 17.5%, respectively; P < 0.001). Metabolic syndrome was also more prevalent among elderly females than in males (59.2% vs. 39.8%, respectively; P < 0.005). Some anthropometric measures such as height, body mass index, abdominal circumference, waist-hip ratio, and waist-to-height ratio were significantly different in men and women below 60 years in comparison with those over 60 years (P < 0.05). Moreover, there were significant differences in most studied parameters between the elderly and non-elderly women (P < 0.001).
This study showed that metabolic syndrome has a relatively high prevalence in Iranian elderly people, especially in elderly women. Therefore, early diagnosis and management of the complication are recommended among this high-risk group to avoid the subsequent complications.
PMCID: PMC3413084  PMID: 23205049
Metabolic Syndrome; Elderly; Iran

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