In Kraków, the second largest town in Poland, cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality rate is lower than in most top largest towns in Poland and lower than the rate for total Polish population.
Aim: The aim of the present analysis was to compare socioeconomic status (SES), prevalence of CVD risk factors and SCORE assessment of risk in Krakow with residents of other big towns in Poland and with general Polish population.
Materialand methods: We used data from the two large, population studies which used comparable methods for risk factors assessment: 1) Polish part of the HAPIEE Project in which 10 615 residents of Krakow at age between 45-69 years were examined, and (2) The WOBASZ Study which contributed with a sub-sample 6 888 of residents of Poland at corresponding age group. WOBASZ sample included 992 residents of big towns other than Krakow. Age-standardized proportions of persons with CVD risk factors were compared between Krakow and the other big towns in Poland and between Krakow and the whole Poland using χ2 test.
Results: The striking observation was that in Krakow proportions of participants with university education were substantially higher than average for the other big towns and the whole Poland. Also, the proportion of occupationally active men and women was the highest in Krakow. In both sexes, prevalence of smoking, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension in Krakow was similar to the other big towns but the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia and hypertension (in men only) was lower than average for Poland. The distribution by SCORE risk categories were similar in all three samples studied. In general, the distribution by BMI categories was less favourable but the prevalence of central obesity was lower among residents of Kraków than among residents of the other big towns and citizens of the whole Poland. Prevalence of diabetes was higher in Krakow than in the other samples studied. The differences between population of Krakow and population of other parts of Poland in the exposure to the main risk factors were found diverse and not big enough to be followed by differences in the distribution by the categories of SCORE risk assessment. The study suggested the importance of obesity and diabetes which are not used for the SCORE risk assessment and especially the importance of psychosocial and economic factors which may influence CVD risk and contribute more to the explanation of the regional differences in CVD mortality.