Global health agencies estimate an increase of chronic diseases in South America. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated chronic diseases and their risk factors in the perspective of multimorbidity. This research aimed to identify these aspects in a primary health care setting of central Argentina. The Pan America version of the STEP wise approach surveillance (STEPS) instrument of the World Health Organization was applied to 1044 participants, 365 men and 679 women, with a mean age of 43 years. High prevalence of overweight (33.5%), obesity (35.2%), central obesity (54%), dyslipidemia (43.5%), metabolic syndrome (21.1%), low intake of fruit and vegetables (91.8%), low levels of physical activity (71.5%), risky alcohol consumption (28%), and smoking (22.5%) were detected. Hypertension and diabetes were the most prevalent chronic conditions and the total prevalence of multimorbidity was 33.1%, with 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 chronic conditions found in 19.9%, 9.1%, 2.6%, 1.1% and 0.4% of the population, respectively. Multimorbidity affected 6.4% of the young, 31.7% of the adults, and 60.6% of the elderly, and was more prevalent among women, and in participants with lower levels of education. Having multimorbidity was significantly associated with obesity, central obesity, and higher concentrations of total blood cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose. A website was made available to the participants in order to share the experimental results and health-promoting information.
Keywords: Argentina; anthropometrics; blood test analysis; chronic diseases; community-based primary care; lifestyle habits; multimorbidity; primary health care; risk factors; sociodemographic.