Introduction The National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHNS) has been conducted for more than 60 years in Japan. A total of 300 survey districts are randomly selected from all over Japan, and they can be categorised by population size of municipalities to which they belong. This study aimed to compare cardiovascular risk factors by population size using the NHNS data.
Methods Subjects were 3311 men and 3843 women aged 30 years and over of the NHNS in 2006. Survey districts were categorised into three groups by municipality population size: 150 000 and over (large), 50 000–149 999 (medium), and <50 000 (small). As for cardiovascular risk factors, we used body mass index, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, HbA1c and current smoking. Age was adjusted using multilevel regression model where individuals at level 1 were nested within survey districts at level 2. Models were fitted by MLwiN 2.02.
Results Compared with survey districts in large municipalities, HbA1c was lower in survey districts in medium municipalities and total and HDL-cholesterol were lower and the percentage of current smokers was higher in survey districts in small municipalities in men, and the percentage of current smokers was lower in survey districts in medium municipalities in women. These differences were statistically significant, but their magnitudes were rather small.
Conclusion No remarkable differences in cardiovascular risk factors were observed by municipality population size in Japan, but their trends should be monitored continually.
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