Background: Within blood establishments little comparative information is available about donors versus the general population. In this study, a description of the donor pool was made in terms of demographic factors and cardiovascular risk factors. The general Dutch population was used as a reference group.
Study design and methods: The Donor InSight study provided information on donors. Extensive information has been gathered by a self-administered questionnaire addressing various topics, like demographics, lifestyle, and health. Aggregated donor responses were compared with general population summary data.
Results: The study population consisted of 15,076 donors. The median age was 46.3 years and 47.3% were men. Donors were more likely to be highly educated (34.6%), married (71.7%), and of Dutch origin (97.4%), when compared to the general population. Donors were less often smokers (donors, 17.1%; general population, 31.8%), more often moderate drinkers (donors, 82.8%; general population, 74.7%), and physically more active (donors, 2.0 hr/week; general population, 1.0 hr/week). Male donors were more often moderately overweight (47.7%) than men from the general population (39.9%). In donors, 0.9% reported to have Type 2 diabetes versus 1.9% in the general population. In donors, 3.4% reported high cholesterol versus 4.6% in the general population.
Conclusion: The study provided important knowledge about demographic distributions and cardiovascular risk factors within donors. A proper understanding of demographic characteristics of donors will help us to focus recruitment and retention strategies. The reported beneficial cardiovascular profile suggests a need for further research on the role of blood donation in cardiovascular risk reduction.
© 2010 American Association of Blood Banks.