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Aust N Z J Med. 1995 Aug;25(4):290-6.

Regional differences in cardiovascular risk factor prevalence in Tasmania: are they consistent with the increased cardiovascular mortality?

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Royal Hobart Hospital, Tas.



The death rate from cardiovascular disease in Tasmania has been among the highest in Australian States for a number of years. The North-West (NW) and Northern regions of Tasmania account for most of the increased mortality.


To determine the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in the North and NW regions of Tasmania and to ascertain whether any differences are consistent with the regional patterns of mortality for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) within the State.


The design of the study was almost identical to the previous National Heart Foundation (NHF) Risk Factor Prevalence Survey conducted in 1989. The subjects, aged 20-69 years, were randomly selected from the Electoral Roll with 1146 subjects participating in the North and 1219 in the NW. Subjects answered a detailed questionnaire and then underwent a brief physical examination with venipuncture for blood lipids. Hobart data from the NHF Risk Factor Prevalence Survey in 1989 were used as an estimate of risk factor prevalence in the Southern region.


In both males and females, mean systolic blood pressure was significantly higher in the NW than the South which was in turn higher than the North. Mean serum cholesterol levels in males were higher in the NW than the North. Smoking behaviour was similar in males and females in all regions. Males and females in the NW and North were more inactive than those in the South. Similar proportions in all regions were on either 'no specific' or 'fat modified' diets. Body mass index in males and females was higher in the NW and North but waist to hip ratios failed to show a consistent trend.


While the NW has an unfavourable risk factor profile compared with the South, the North does not. The risk factor data are broadly consistent with, but unlikely to be sufficient to explain fully, the regional differences in mortality from IHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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