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Two tales of cardiovascular risks--middle-aged women living in Sweden and Scotland: a cross-sectional comparative study

08 Aug 2017


To compare cardiovascular risk factors as well as rates of cardiovascular diseases in middle-aged women from urban areas in Scotland and Sweden.


Comparative cross-sectional study.


Data from the general population in urban areas of Scotland and the general population in two major Swedish cities in southeast Sweden, south of Stockholm.


Comparable data of middle-aged women (40–65 years) from the Scottish Health Survey (n=6250) and the Swedish QWIN study (n=741) were merged together into a new dataset (n=6991 participants).

Main outcome measure

We compared middle-aged women in urban areas in Sweden and Scotland regarding risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), CVD diagnosis, anthropometrics, psychological distress and lifestyle.


In almost all measurements, there were significant differences between the countries, favouring the Swedish women. Scottish women demonstrated a higher frequency of alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, low vegetable consumption, a sedentary lifestyle and also more psychological distress. For doctor-diagnosed coronary heart disease, there were also significant differences, with a higher prevalence among the Scottish women.


This is one of the first studies that clearly shows that Scottish middle-aged women are particularly affected by a worse profile of CVD risks. The profound differences in CVD risk and outcome frequency in the two populations are likely to have arisen from differences in the two groups of women's social, cultural, political and economic environments.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open