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  • Author or Editor: H.J. Feith x
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Abstract

Obesity and other unhealthy behaviors are behind cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, with the Roma population particularly at risk. The aim of our cross-sectional (questionnaire- and physical measurements-based) study was to compare the prevalence of obesity in Hungarian, Romanian, and Slovakian Hungarian-speaking Roma and non-Roma (N = 1893) in relation to lifestyle-related risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). In the total sample, the proportion of extreme obesity was higher in Roma (P < 0.001) than non-Roma. The mean waist circumference was the highest in Hungary (P < 0.001). Visceral fat was higher in the Hungarian Roma sample than in the Slovak (P = 0.006) or Romanian Roma samples (P = 0.005). Hungarian Roma total cholesterol levels were lower than in the Slovak (P < 0.001) or Romanian samples (P < 0.001). Hypertension and cholesterol levels were associated with a higher risk among non-Roma men (P < 0.001), and the presence of smoking increased CVD risk among both men (P = 0.024) and women (P < 0.001) in the Roma minority. The combined presence of several risk factors was found mainly in Roma. Overall, Roma scores were found to be worse, but ethnicity did not provide clear evidence for the questions examined, but rather the level of education, which is associated with socioeconomic status.

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