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A Study on the Prevalence of Major Chronic Diseases and Dietary Risk Factors in Seoul

Seong-Ah Kim ․ Chang-Woo Shon ․ Daram Seo ․ Jung-Ah Kim

Due to economic advancement and a rise in women's social advancement, the frequency of convenience foods and eating out has increased while pursuing convenience in life. As the consumption of animal products such as meat increases due to westernized diets, the prevalence of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease has increased. Over a period of 10 years (2010 to 2019), the most common chronic diseases with high prevalence among Seoul citizens were dyslipidemia (36.0%), obesity (31.1%), and hypertension (25.3%). The chronic diseases that have been increasing in prevalence over the 10 years period were hypercholesterolemia (2010: 10.1%, 2019: 19.1%) and hyperLDL-cholesterolemia (2010: 10.0%, 2019: 17.8%), showing an increasing tendency in blood cholesterol concentration due to the effect of increased fat intake among Seoul citizens. Also, it was found that the prevalence of most chronic diseases was higher among the lowest income household group or single household compared to the higher income households or non-single households. This suggested that there should be an intervention to manage major chronic diseases in low-income households and single households.

Diet is a lifestyle habit that has the greatest influence on the occurrence of chronic diseases, and is also the most modifiable risk factor and preventive factor. As a result of analyzing the dietary characteristics of Seoul citizens over the 10 years period, it was found that among Seoul citizens, those who consumed excessive energy/fat increased, and those who consumed more than 500g of fruits and vegetables per day decreased. In particular, low-income households and single-person households showed the most unhealthy dietary characteristics, such as low food security and lack of fruit and vegetable intake.

After an average of 5 years of follow-up of 26,362 healthy adults, dietary risk factors of each chronic disease were clearly distinguished. In the case of obesity, high-carbohydrate, high-fat, and high-sodium foods increased the risk of diseases. High-fat and high-sodium foods for hypertension, high-carbohydrate foods for hypertriglyceridemia, and high-fat foods for hypercholesterolemia were found to increase the risk of disease, respectively. In particular, although hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia were both classified as dyslipidemia, the dietary risk factors were different. This highlights the need for tailored dietary management for each chronic disease.

In conclusion, we suggested a tailored dietary management policy for major chronic diseases. First, we propose to deliver a cooked lunch box to people who have chronic diseases and are unable to move easily and cook. Second, people with chronic diseases who have trouble purchasing food on their own, but can cook can receive food packages delivered in the form of ingredients. Third, for those who have chronic diseases but do not have much difficulty in daily life, we suggest provision of customized food prescriptions and food vouchers so that they can purchase fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits and healthy side dishes on their own. At all stages, it is important to strengthen the competency of people so that they can adjust and maintain good eating habits even after the program comes to the end by providing nutrition education and counseling through visiting nutritionists or group education.