Objective To investigate sex differences in prevalence, treatment and control of major cardiovascular risk factors in England.
Methods Data from the Health Survey for England 2012–2017 on non-institutionalised English adults (aged ≥16 years) were used to investigate sex differences in prevalence, treatment and control of major cardiovascular risk factors: body mass index, smoking, systolic blood pressure and hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol and dyslipidaemia. Physical activity and diet were not assessed in this study.
Results Overall, 49 415 adults (51% women) were included. Sex differences persisted in prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, with smoking, hypertension, overweight and dyslipidaemia remaining more common in men than in women in 2017. The proportion of individuals with neither hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes nor smoking increased from 32% to 36% in women and from 28% to 29% in men between 2012 and 2017. Treatment and control of hypertension and diabetes improved over time and were comparable in both sexes in 2017 (66% and 51% for treatment and control of hypertension and 73% and 20% for treatment and control of diabetes). However, women were less likely than men to have treated and controlled dyslipidaemia (21% vs 28% for treatment and 15% vs 24% for control, for women versus men in 2017).
Conclusions Important sex differences persist in cardiovascular risk factors in England, with an overall higher number of risk factors in men than in women. A combination of public health policy and individually tailored interventions is required to further reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in England.
- cardiac risk factors and prevention
- health care delivery
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Contributors All authors were involved in study conceptualisation and design. ACPG conducted the analysis and drafted the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript. MW is the guarantor. The guarantor accepts full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study, had access to the data and controlled the decision to publish. The corresponding author attests that all listed authors meet authorship criteria and that no others meeting the criteria have been omitted.
Funding ACPG was funded by the British Heart Foundation.
Disclaimer The funder had no influence on study conduct and reporting.
Competing interests All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at http://www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work. MW is a consultant to Amgen and Kirin; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. All data are freely available in the public domain.
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