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Comparative total mortality in 25 years in Italian and Greek middle aged rural men.
  1. A S Dontas,
  2. A Menotti,
  3. C Aravanis,
  4. P Ioannidis,
  5. F Seccareccia
  1. Centre of Studies of Age-Related Changes in Man, Athens, Greece.

    Abstract

    STUDY OBJECTIVE: Mortality over 25 years has been low in the Italian and very low in the Greek cohorts of the Seven Countries Study; factors responsible for this particularity were studied in detail. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTINGS: 1712 Italian and 1215 Greek men, aged 40-59 years, cohorts of the Seven Countries Study, representing over 95% of the populations in designated rural areas. DESIGN: Entry (1960-61) data included age, systolic blood pressure (SBP), smoking habits, total serum cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), arm circumference, vital capacity (VC), and forced expiratory volume in 3/4 seconds (FEV); the same data were obtained 10 years later. Multivariate Cox analysis was performed with all causes death in 25 years as end point. MAIN RESULTS: Italian men had higher entry levels of SBP, arm circumference, BMI, and VC; Greek men had higher cholesterol levels, smoking habits, and FEV. Mortality of Italian men was higher throughout; at 25 years cumulative mortality was 48.3% and 35.3% respectively. Coronary heart disease and stroke mortality increased fivefold in Italy and 10-fold in Greece between years 10 and 25. The only risk factor with a significantly higher contribution to mortality in Italian men was cholesterol. However, differences in entry SBP (higher in Italy) and FEV (higher in Greece) accounted for, according to the Lee method, 75% of the differential mortality between the two populations. At 10 years increases in SBP, cholesterol, BMI, and decreases in smoking habits, VC, FEV, and arm circumference had occurred (deltas). SBP increased more and FEV and VC decreased more in Italy than in Greece. Deltas, fed stepwise in the original model for the prediction of 10 to 25 years mortality, were significant for SBP, smoking, arm circumference, and VC in Greece, and for SBP and VC in Italy. CONCLUSION: Higher mortality in Italian men is related to stronger positive effects of entry SBP and weaker negative (protective) effects of FEV; in addition 10 year increases in SBP are higher and 10 year decreases in FEV are larger in Italy. Unaccounted factors, however, related to, for example, differences in the diet, may also have contributed to the differential mortality of these two Mediterranean populations.

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