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01 April 2008

Design and descriptive characteristics of the GHRAS: the Greek Health Randomized Aging Study

Stavroula Kanoni, George V. Dedoussis

Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(4): CR204-212 :: ID: 850298

Abstract

Background:The “GHRAS” study is aimed at investigating the interactions among socioeconomic, lifestyle, dietary, psychological, and biochemical factors determining the health status of elderly Greeks. The design and baseline sociodemographic, clinical, and dietary characteristics of the participants are presented here.
Material/Methods: A total of 782 elderly (>60 years of age) Greeks were randomly recruited in Athens. Standardized anthropometric, biochemical, and clinical procedures and extensive questionnaires were used to assess health parameters and lifestyle factors.
Results: A high prevalence of hypercholesterolemia was found in both men and women (78.7% vs. 90.1%, p<0.001) as well as hypertension (81.3% vs. 71.8, p=0.005). Obesity was found in 43.6% of all participants and 42.7% was overweight. Elderly women demonstrated higher mean BMI values than the men (30.2±5.0 vs. 28.7±4.0, p<0.001). Only 13.4% of all subjects reported current smoking. The majority of the women (77.5%) had never smoked, while most of the men (53.4%) were former smokers. The women appeared more physically active and less adherent to the Mediterranean diet than the men. 36.2% of the women and 21.0% of the men had mild to severe depressive symptoms (p<0.001), while 28.4% of the women and 25.4% of the men had cognitive decline (p=0.430). A history of cardiovascular disease was present in 19.9% and diabetes in 13.9% of all participants.
Conclusions: The prevalence of morbidity risk factors in this population is high. Further investigation is required, including the interaction of compromising factors, to clarify their impact on the health status of the elderly.

Keywords: Health Surveys, Socioeconomic Factors, Smoking - epidemiology, Sex Characteristics, Random Allocation, Questionnaires, Obesity - epidemiology, Life Style, Hypertension - epidemiology, Hypercholesterolemia - epidemiology, Aging, Health Status, Health, Greece - epidemiology, Diabetes Mellitus - epidemiology, Cholesterol - blood, Cardiovascular Diseases - epidemiology, Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, Aged, 80 and over

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