Aims The importance of coronary heart disease risk factors may differ between individuals and community and by sex and age.
Methods and Results The Copenhagen City Heart Study followed for 21 years a random sample of 5599 men and 6478 women aged 30 to 79 years at baseline. The importance of risk factors in individuals and the community were evaluated as relative- and population-attributable risks. We traced 2180 coronary events. In Cox regression analysis with ten risk factors entered simultaneously, relative risks for coronary heart disease in men ranged from 1·69 to 1·20 with the highest risks for diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and physical inactivity. In women, relative risks ranged from 2·74 to 1·19 with the highest risks for diabetes, smoking, hypertension, and physical inactivity. Population-attributable risks in men ranged from 22% to 3% with the highest risks for smoking, hypertension, and no daily alcohol intake. In women, attributable risks ranged from 37% to 3% with the highest risks for smoking, hypertension, and hypercholesterolaemia. Several of these rankings differed by age.
Conclusions The importance of coronary heart disease risk factors may differ for individuals, the community, and by sex and age. Consequently, prevention strategies should be tailored accordingly.