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Open Access Research article

Cardiovascular health: a cross-national comparison between the Maine Syracuse Study (Central New York, USA) and ORISCAV-LUX (Luxembourg)

Georgina E Crichton12*, Merrill F Elias34, Adam Davey5, Nicolas Sauvageot2, Charles Delagardelle6, Jean Beissel6 and Ala’a Alkerwi2

Author Affiliations

1 Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

2 Centre de Recherche Public Santé, Centre d’Etudes en Santé, Strassen, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

3 Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA

4 Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA

5 Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

6 Service de Cardiologie, Centre Hospitalier du Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:253  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-253

Published: 15 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and in most European countries. Cardiovascular health, as defined by the American Heart Association, is comprised of seven health metrics (smoking, body mass index, physical activity, diet, total cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting plasma glucose). No studies have compared US data with data collected elsewhere, using this index of cardiovascular health

Methods

We performed comparative analyses of cardiovascular health status in participants from 2 study sites in 2 different countries: the Maine-Syracuse Study, conducted in Central New York, USA in 2001–2006 (n = 673), and the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg, conducted in 2007–2009 (n = 1145).

Results

The Cardiovascular Health Score, the sum of the total number of metrics at ideal levels, was higher in the Luxembourg site than in the Central New York site. Ideal cardiovascular health levels for body mass index, smoking, physical activity, and diet were more prevalent in the Luxembourg site than the Central New York site. Ideal levels for blood pressure were more prevalent in Central New York. Differences between the two sites remained with control for age, gender and socioeconomic indicators.

Conclusions

Cardiovascular health, as indexed by seven health metrics, was higher in the European study site than in the US study site. The largest differences were for the four lifestyle/behavior metrics, namely body mass index, smoking, physical activity, and diet. Preventative and intervention strategies will continue to be important for both countries in order to improve cardiovascular health.

Keywords:
Cardiovascular disease; Cross-national comparison; Ideal cardiovascular health; Luxembourg; USA