Objectives: The objective of our study was to compare the health status of the Roma people with that of the general population in Hungary.
Methods: A health examination survey to define the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components was performed in a representative random sample (n = 646) of the Roma population aged 20-64 years living in segregated colonies, and data were compared with that obtained in a representative random sample (n = 1819) of the Hungarian population.
Results: The risks for central obesity, hypertension and raised triglyceride level among Roma adults were not different from the Hungarian references, while raised fasting plasma glucose or known type 2 diabetes mellitus (OR = 2.65, 95%CI 1.90-3.69), reduced HDL cholesterol level or treated lipid disorder (OR = 2.15, 95%CI 1.65-2.79) were significantly more frequent in all age groups in the Roma sample. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (OR = 1.37, 95%CI 1.03-1.83) was also significantly higher among Roma than in the general Hungarian population.
Conclusions: Besides tackling the socio-economic determinants of the poor health of Roma people, specific public health interventions considering increased genetic susceptibility to metabolic disturbances are needed to improve their health status.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.