Roma constitute a large minority in several Central European countries, with a mostly disadvantaged societal and health position. The aim of this study was to assess biological and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk factors in people living in Roma settlements and to compare them with non-Roma.
We used data from the cross-sectional Hepa-Meta study conducted in Slovakia. The sample consisted of 452 Roma (mean age = 34.7, 35.2 % men) and 403 non-Roma (mean age = 33.5, 45.9 % men). The effect of ethnicity was analysed using logistic regression adjusted for age and stratified by gender.
Roma were more likely to have obesity, low HDL cholesterol, normal total cholesterol, and to smoke than non-Roma. Moreover, Roma women were more likely to have abdominal obesity and Roma men to have normal LDL cholesterol than non-Roma. No significant differences by ethnicity were found regarding hypertriglyceridaemia, hyperglycaemia and hypertension.
Our study confirmed higher rates of some CVD risk factors in Roma compared with non-Roma. Our findings call for interventions aiming at decreasing CVD risks and improving health literacy among Roma, to reduce CVD morbidity and premature mortality.