This study investigated the trends and levels of the prevalence of health factors, and the association of all-cause and cardiovascular (CVD) mortality with healthy levels of combined risk factors among Lithuanian urban population.
Data from five general population surveys in Kaunas, Lithuania, conducted between 1983 and 2008 were used. Healthy factors measured at baseline include non-smoking, normal weight, normal arterial blood pressure, normal level of total serum cholesterol, normal physical activity and normal level of fasting glucose. Among 9,209 men and women aged 45–64 (7,648 were free from coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke at baseline), 1,219 death cases from any cause, 589 deaths from CVD, and 342 deaths from CHD occurred during follow up. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the association between health factors and mortality from all causes, CVD and CHD.
Between 1983 and 2008, the proportion of subjects with 6 healthy levels of risk factors was higher in 2006–2008 than in 1983–1984 (0.6% vs. 0.2%; p = 0.09), although there was a significant increase in fasting glucose and a decline in intermediate physical activity. Men and women with normal or intermediate levels of risk factors had significantly lower all-cause, CVD and CHD mortality risk than persons with high levels of risk factors. Subjects with 5–6 healthy factors had hazard ratio (HR) of CVD mortality 0.35 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.15–0.83) compared to average risk in the whole population. The hazard ratio for CVD mortality risk was significant in men (HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.12–0.97) but not in women (HR 0.38, 95% CI 0.09–1.67).
An inverse association of most healthy levels of cardiovascular risk factors with risk of all-cause and CVD mortality was observed in this urban population-based cohort. A greater number of cardiovascular health factors were related with significantly lower risk of CVD mortality, particularly among men.