Socio-economic status and prevention of cardiovascular disease in Italy: evidence from a national health survey

Eur J Public Health. 2011 Oct;21(5):591-6. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckq075. Epub 2010 Jun 9.


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability in the world. Many cardiovascular risk factors can be prevented. We assessed whether socio-economic factors are associated with individual preventive behaviours in Italy.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative sample of 47,391 adults aged 40-69 years was undertaken using 2004-05 National Health Interview Survey data. Logistic regression models were developed to assess the association between socio-economic status (SES) and regular monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and glycaemia. SES was estimated according to education and occupation.

Results: SES was significantly associated with regular monitoring of risk factors for CVD. The most educated were more likely to monitor cholesterol levels than those with less education [men odds ratio (OR) 1.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.46-1.86; women OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.19-1.55]. Individuals in the highest occupational class controlled weight more frequently than those disadvantaged with an OR of 1.24 (95% CI 1.04-1.49) for men and an OR of 1.26 (95% CI 1.12-1.42) for women.

Conclusion: Socio-economic disparities in the prevention of risk factors for CVD were clearly observed among Italian adults, generally favouring higher socio-economic groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • National Health Programs
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol