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Can J Rural Med. 2012 Winter;17(1):10-6.

Health views and metabolic syndrome in a Finnish rural community: a cross-sectional population study.

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Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Primary Health Care Unit, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.



Metabolic syndrome (MetS) can be prevented through the promotion of healthy lifestyles. In rural areas, MetS is associated with unhealthy lifestyles and socioeconomic and demographic changes. However, there is scarce evidence on how health views contribute to the unhealthy lifestyles that result in MetS.


The study involved adults in 8 birth cohorts between 30 and 65 years of age living in the rural community of Lapinlahti in eastern Finland. We assessed participants' demographic and lifestyle factors and health views. For assessment of health views, we applied factor analysis. For MetS classification, we used the 2005 criteria of the National Cholesterol Education Program.


The prevalence of MetS among the participants was 38%. In a backward logistic regression analysis adjusted for other variables, there was a significant association between MetS and older age (odds ratio [OR] 2.91) as well as low level of physical activity (OR 1.99). In a factor analysis, 4 principal factors of lay health views were identified, of which blame-shifting (OR 1.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-1.49)and social alienation (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.24-1.40) were significantly associated with MetS in an unadjusted logistic regression analysis.


It is important, particularly in primary health care, to recognize health views behind MetS and to empower communities in the prevention of MetS.

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