February 28, 2019
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BMI, cholesterol risk factors greater in women than men over time

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Sanne A.E. Peters
Sanne A.E. Peters

BMI increased more and total cholesterol decreased less in women compared with men during a 15-year period, according to an analysis of temporal trends in CV risk factor levels.

Sanne A.E. Peters, PhD, of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in the U.K., and the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2001-2002 to 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers assessed sex differences in temporal trends for risk factors, including systolic BP, BMI, smoking status, and HDL and total cholesterol. Trends in treatment and control rates of hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia were also analyzed.

“CVD has long been seen as a condition primarily affecting men,” Peters and colleagues wrote. “Although the age-specific rates of CVD are higher in men than women in most age groups, the actual lifetime risk of CVD is similar for women and men.”

Peters and colleagues analyzed data from 35,416 participants (age range, 20 to 79 years; 51% women).

The researchers identified similar trends in systolic BP, smoking status, HbA1c and HDL among both sexes.

BMI increased more and total cholesterol decreased less in women compared with men during a 15-year period, according to an analysis of temporal trends in CV risk factor levels.
Source: Shutterstock

Mean BMI levels increased more in women than in men (P = .006). Among women, mean BMI rose from 28.1 kg/m2 in 2001-2004 to 29.6 kg/m2 in 2013-2016, whereas among men, mean BMI rose from 27.9 kg/m2 in 2001-2004 to 29 kg/m2 in 2013-2016.

Total cholesterol decreased more in men compared with women (P = .002), as mean total cholesterol levels were higher in women compared with men in 2001-2004 (203 mg/dL vs. 201 mg/dL) and 2013-2016 (194 mg/dL vs. 188 mg/dL), the researchers wrote.

In the data from 2013-2016, control rates were greater in women compared with men for hypertension (30% vs. 22%) and diabetes (30% vs 20%), but lower for dyslipidemia (51% vs. 63%).

Sex differences in treatment rates might underpin some of the differences in control rates, the researchers wrote.

“The control of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia remained suboptimal in both sexes, with a lower prevalence of controlled hypertension and diabetes mellitus in men and a lower prevalence of controlled dyslipidemia in women,” Peters and colleagues wrote. – by Earl Holland Jr.

Disclosures: Peters reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ financial disclosures.