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Overweight, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption in a cross-sectional random sample of German adults Mark M Haenle†1, Stefan O Brockmann†2, Martina Kron3, Ursula Bertling4, Richard A Mason1, Gerald Steinbach5, Bernhard O Boehm1, Wolfgang Koenig6, Peter Kern6, Isolde Piechotowski2, Wolfgang Kratzer*1 and the EMIL-Study group Address: 1Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Ulm, Robert-Koch-Str. 8, 89081 Ulm, Germany, 2Baden-Württemberg State Health Office, District Government Stuttgart, Germany, 3Department of Biometry and Medical Documentation, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany, 4Local Health Department Ravensburg, Leutkirch, Germany, 5Central Department Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Ulm, Ulm, Germany and 6Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Ulm, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany Email: Mark M Haenle - [email protected]; Stefan O Brockmann - [email protected]; Martina Kron - [email protected]; Ursula Bertling - [email protected]; Richard A Mason - [email protected]; Gerald Steinbach - [email protected]; Bernhard O Boehm - [email protected]; Wolfgang Koenig - [email protected]; Peter Kern - [email protected]; Isolde Piechotowski - [email protected]; Wolfgang Kratzer* - [email protected] * Corresponding author †Equal contributors

Published: 18 September 2006 BMC Public Health 2006, 6:233


Received: 14 February 2006 Accepted: 18 September 2006

This article is available from: © 2006 Haenle et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract Background: There is a current paucity of data on the health behaviour of non-selected populations in Central Europe. Data on health behaviour were collected as part of the EMIL study which investigated the prevalence of infection with Echinococcus multilocularis and other medical conditions in an urban German population. Methods: Participating in the present study were 2,187 adults (1,138 females [52.0%]; 1,049 males [48.0%], age: 18–65 years) taken from a sample of 4,000 persons randomly chosen from an urban population. Data on health behaviour like physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption were obtained by means of a questionnaire, documentation of anthropometric data, abdominal ultrasound and blood specimens for assessment of chemical parameters. Results: The overall rate of participation was 62.8%. Of these, 50.3% of the adults were overweight or obese. The proportion of active tobacco smokers stood at 30.1%. Of those surveyed 38.9% did not participate in any physical activity. Less than 2 hours of leisure time physical activity per week was associated with female sex, higher BMI (Body Mass Index), smoking and no alcohol consumption. Participants consumed on average 12 grams of alcohol per day. Total cholesterol was in 62.0% (>5.2 mmol/l) and triglycerides were elevated in 20.5% (≥ 2.3 mmol/l) of subjects studied. Hepatic steatosis was identified in 27.4% of subjects and showed an association with male sex, higher BMI, higher age, higher total blood cholesterol, lower HDL, higher triglycerides and higher ALT. Conclusion: This random sample of German urban adults was characterised by a high prevalence of overweight and obesity. This and the pattern of alcohol consumption, smoking and physical activity can be considered to put this group at high risk for associated morbidity and underscore the urgent need for preventive measures aimed at reducing the significantly increased health risk.

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:233

Background The findings of current epidemiological research show, that a few largely preventable risk factors account for most of the world's disease burden. Chronic diseases – including cardiovascular conditions, obesity, diabetes, stroke, cancers and respiratory diseases – account for 59% of the 57 million deaths annually, and 46% of the global disease burden [1]. This reflects a significant change in diet habits and physical activity levels worldwide as a result of industrialization, urbanization, economic development and increased food market globalization [1].

chemistry, anthropometry, medical history and ultrasound examination and to assess the effect of these factors on the occurrence of steatosis hepatis, the amount of physical activity, the level of Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and on the level of total blood cholesterol. The data are intended to serve as a basis for recommendations of public health authorities in Baden-Württemberg, in particular in formulating specific regional preventiv