• cardiovascular diseases;
  • educational status;
  • lifestyle;
  • primary health care;
  • risk factors;
  • socioeconomic factors



To determine the prevalence and distribution of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors focused on educational level differences, in an adult population in Southern Spain.

Design and Sample

Cross-sectional population-based study. Random sample from the adult population assigned to a Primary Health Care Centre in Málaga (Southern Spain), which attends 38,625 inhabitants.


Level of education, physical activity, blood pressure, waist perimeter, body mass index, lipid profile, fasting plasma glucose, among others, were assessed.


Final sample included 2,270 subjects with a mean age of 43.65 (SD: 16.65), 49.74% male and 50.26% female. 57.6% had none or only primary studies. Overweight was present in 55.8%, smokers were 27.6% and sedentary people 51.9%. Once adjusted by sex and age, all modifiable factors were lower in people with higher education. The highest risks were sedentarism (OR 1.95; 95% CI: 1.16–3.29) and hypertension (OR: 2.07 95% CI: 1.49–2.80) for those with lower education.


There is a clear inverse gradient of cardiovascular risk factors and educational level in the study population. Public health and community nurses should develop strong interventions for this challenge and extend their influence to public policies focused on educational inequalities and health.