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OBJECTIVE: To determine the influence of some cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking habit, physical activity, obesity, adverse lipid profile) in elderly Chinese aged 70 years and over, on overall mortality and morbidity from stroke and ischaemic heart disease. DESIGN: Longitudinal study relating 18-month outcome to baseline values. SUBJECTS: 2,032 subjects (999 men, 1,033 women), mean age 80 years, recruited by random sampling of the Old Age and Disability Allowance Schemes, which covers 90% of the Hong Kong elderly subjects, stratified by sex and 5-year age groups from 70 years onwards. METHODS: At baseline, subjects were visited by interviewers to collect information regarding medical conditions, smoking habit, physical activity, and to measure their height, weight, skinfold thickness, and waist/hip ratio. A follow-up survey was carried out 18 months later to establish the development of any new stroke or ischaemic heart disease, and to note any deaths and the cause of such deaths from death certification. RESULTS: In multivariate analysis overall mortality was negatively associated with body mass index and participation in physical activity, after adjusting for age and sex. Death from stroke was associated with a higher systolic blood pressure at baseline. Among survivors, the only significant associations observed were a negative association between body mass index and the development of heart disease, and a positive association between systolic blood pressure and development of stroke. CONCLUSIONS: Few associations between cardiovascular risk factors and morbidity and mortality were demonstrated in elderly Chinese with a mean age of 80 years. The only modifiable risk factor appears to be systolic blood pressure.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





51 - 55


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cerebrovascular Disorders, Female, Heart Diseases, Humans, Male, Morbidity, Multivariate Analysis, Physical Exertion, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors