Objectives: This report provides the first comprehensive and standardized assessment of the distribution of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in Syria, where such data are still scarce.
Methods: A population-based household survey was conducted in Aleppo (population >2.5 million), involving 1,168 subjects ≥25 years old (47.7% men; mean age 44.7 ± 12.7 years). Information about socio-demographics, personal behavior, and other CVD risk factors was collected. Anthropometric measurements and fasting blood samples were obtained.
Results: The prevalence of clinical risk factors of CVD (ClinRFs) was 45.6% for hypertension, 43.2% for obesity, 21.9% for hypercholesterolemia and 15.6% for diabetes. The prevalence of behavioral risk factors (BehRFs) was 82.3% for physical inactivity, 39.0% for smoking, and 33.4% for unhealthy diet. All ClinRFs increased with age, while gender was associated only with obesity and smoking. Education was associated with obesity and diabetes (P < 0.05 for all).
Conclusions: Adults in Syria have some of the world's highest prevalence of CVD risk factors. Unhealthy behaviors and social norms unfavorable to women may explain some of such risk profiles.