Monitoring Behavioral Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Russia
The purpose of the project was to provide assistance to Russia in establishing a national surveillance system for monitoring CVD risk factors. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which was developed in the US and is used by all State Health Departments, served as a template for the Russian system. Personal interviews, mail-based and telephone-based surveys were reviewed and considered. Questions were taken from previous Russian, European, and US surveys to collect information on smoking, alcohol use, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, blood pressure, self-reported CVD symptoms and previously diagnosed diseases. This was the first Russian phone-based health survey and was piloted in Moscow where a random sample of 6065 was selected from the 2,560,633 private phone listings. Initial analysis found that in general, prevalence of CVD risk factors was higher than in similar American surveys. The current smoking rate reached 52%, 30% had a BMI below 24 kg/m 2 , 60% reported average daily fruit consumption of less then 1/4 of a pound (200 g) per person in the summer, elevated, untreated blood pressure (more then 140/90 mm Hg) was reported by 25 % while another 10 % received medication for hypertension, 18% of men and 4% of women reported heavy drinking. Though duration of walking was rather high compared with the US (about 90 min per day), only 5 % engaged in other moderate physical activity on a regular basis; 20% of respondents said that they experienced CVD symptoms or were diagnosed with CVD. In general, CVD risk factors were more prevalent among men. Next year 11 additional sites will conduct the survey. These data help fill the gap in public health knowledge related to prevalence of CVD risk factors in Russia and demonstrate the value of establishing a monitoring system. They also indicate that immediate preventive measures are needed to improve the health status of the population.