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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Feb;25(2):185-90.

Prevalence of overweight and obesity in a rural southern Italy population and relationships with total and cardiovascular mortality: the Ventimiglia di Sicilia project.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.



We investigated the prevalence of overweight and obesity and their relationships with the main cardiovascular risk factors in the population of Ventimiglia di Sicilia, a rural village in Southern Italy characterized by low cholesterol levels and by a low incidence of early coronary heart disease mortality. We related all deaths to body weight and fat distribution during an 8 y follow-up.


Cross-sectional and prospective observational study.


A total of 835 free-living individuals, 363 males and 472 females, of age between 20 and 69 y.


In all participants body weight, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), cardiovascular risk factors and plasma lipids were measured. During the follow-up, total and cardiovascular deaths were registered.


We found a high overall prevalence of subjects with overweight or obesity (respectively 45.0% and 27.7%), with great differences among classes of age. As expected, body weight and fat distribution were associated with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and with a worsening of lipid profile. During the follow-up we registered 37 total and 11 cardiovascular deaths. All-cause and cardiovascular mortality risks were, respectively, 1.64 (95% CI 0.65-4.15) and 2.71 (95% CI 0.29-25.26) in subjects with a body mass index (BMI) of 27-29.99 kg/m2 and 2.45 (95% CI 1.03-5.87) and 5.36 (95% CI 1.41-62.01) in subjects with a BMI of > or =30 kg/m2 in comparison with participants with a BMI of <27 kg/m2, and 3.48 (95% CI 1.46-8.30) and 4.55 (95% CI 1.12-18.40) in subjects with a WHR higher than the median in comparison with individuals with a WHR lower than the median.


The Ventimiglia di Sicilia Study highlights the great importance of overweight and obesity as a public health issue in a rural population and indicates that it is necessary to consider the impact of body weight and fat distribution on both total and CHD mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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