Prevalence of diet related risk factors for chronic disease in male prisoners in a high secure prison

Hannan-Jones, Mary T. & Capra, Sandra (2016) Prevalence of diet related risk factors for chronic disease in male prisoners in a high secure prison. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70, pp. 212-216.

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  • Research on prisoners is limited and demonstrates a group with disproportionate numbers from disadvantaged backgrounds, known to have a high burden of disease, much of which is diet related. The aim of this study was to gauge the presence of markers of chronic disease, as a basis for food and nutrition policy in prisons.


  • A cross-sectional study design was used with a convenience sample of prisoners in a male 945 bed high secure facility. Face to face interviews with physical measures of height, weight, body fat, waist circumference and blood pressure were collected along with fasting bloods. Data was confirmed with facility records, observations and staff interviews. Full ethics approval was obtained. Results were compared with studies of Australian prisoners and the general population.


  • The mean age was 35.5 years (n=120). Prevalence rates were: obesity 14%, diabetes 5%, hypertension 26.7% and smoking 55.8%. Self-report of daily physical activity was 84%, with 51% participating ≥two times daily. Standard food provision was consistent with dietary recommendations, except sodium was high. Where fasting bloods were obtained (n=78) dyslipidaemia was 56.4% with the Metabolic Syndrome present in 26%.


  • Prevalence of diabetes and heart disease risk appear similar to the general population, however obesity was lower and smoking higher. The data provides evidence that markers of chronic disease are present, with this the first study to describe the Metabolic Syndrome in prisoners. Food and nutrition policy in this setting is complex and should address the duty of care issues that exist.

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2 citations in Scopus
2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 84394
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: prisoner, chronic disease risk, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diet
DOI: 10.1038/ejcn.2015.100
ISSN: 1476-5640
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Nature Publishing Group
Deposited On: 21 May 2015 23:49
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 20:01

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