Risk factors for cardiovascular disease among the homeless and in the general population of the city of Porto, Portugal

Fatores de risco cardiovascular em pessoas sem-abrigo e na população geral da cidade do Porto, Portugal

We described the distribution of risk factors for cardiovascular disease among homeless people living in the city of Porto, Portugal. Comparisons were made between subsamples of homeless people recruited in different settings and between the overall homeless sample group and a sample of the general population. All "houseless" individuals attending one of two homeless hostels or two institutions providing meal programs on specific days were invited to participate and were matched with subjects from the general population. We estimated sex, age and education-adjusted prevalence ratios or mean differences. The prevalence of previous illicit drug consumption and imprisonment was almost twice as high among the homeless from institutions providing meal programs. This group also showed lower mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Prevalence of smoking was almost 50% higher in the overall homeless group. Mean body mass index and waist circumference were also lower in the homeless group and its members were almost five times less likely to report dyslipidemia. Our findings contribute to defining priorities for interventions directed at this segment of society and to reducing inequalities in this extremely underprivileged population.

Homeless Persons; Hypertension; Overweight; Obesity

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