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J Epidemiol Community Health 43:37-42 doi:10.1136/jech.43.1.37
  • Research Article

Social class and risk factors for coronary heart disease in the Federal Republic of Germany. Results of the baseline survey of the German Cardiovascular Prevention Study (GCP).

  1. U Helmert,
  2. B Herman,
  3. K H Joeckel,
  4. E Greiser,
  5. J Madans
  1. Department of Epidemiology, Bremen Institute for Prevention Research and Social Medicine, FRG.

      Abstract

      The relationship between social class and seven important risk factors for coronary heart disease has been evaluated utilising data from the German Cardiovascular Prevention Study baseline survey. Of German residents aged 25 to 69 years, 16,430 were randomly selected from both the six intervention regions and the Federal Republic of Germany to undergo the screening procedures between 1984 and 1986. Among males the prevalence of cigarette smoking and lack of physical activity was associated with social class. For females, overweight and physical activity demonstrated a strong social gradient. No relationship existed between social class and hypercholesterolaemia. The prevalence of Type A behaviour was significantly higher for the upper social classes. The number of CHD risk factors per study subject increased with decreasing social class. Predicted cardiovascular mortality was clearly higher for the lower social class among males in general and for females younger than 60 years. These findings point to the need for risk factor intervention strategies focusing more on the lower social classes in order to achieve more adequate prevention of coronary heart disease.