Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in an African, urban inner city community

West Afr J Med. 2002 Jul-Sep;21(3):208-11. doi: 10.4314/wajm.v21i3.28031.


With the epidemiological transition phenomenon, more countries are expected to move from a disease pattern dominated by infectious diseases to one characterised by non-communicable diseases. Many developing countries are contending with infectious diseases as well as non-communicable diseases, yet little is known about the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in poor urban communities in developing countries. The objective of this community based study was to determine the prevalence of selected cardiovascular risk factors in an urban inner city community which had been followed up prospectively from 1993 to 1998. Results show that the prevalence of hypertension (Blood Pressure BP > 160/95 mm Hg) was 12.4 percent with an age-adjusted rate of 7.4 percent. This is higher than what is found in the rural parts of the country but much lower than what is generally observed in industrialized countries of the world. Though there was no significant difference in the proportion with hypertension by gender (P > 0.05), the mean systolic BP was significantly higher for men (123.9 +/- 23.9) mm Hg) than for women (120.6 +/- 26.8 mg Hg) t = 2.93, p < 0.01. The mean diastolic BP was similarly higher for men (75.8 +/- 14.9) mm Hg than women (74.0 +/- 14.9) mm Hg t = 2.76 p < 0.01). Eight percent of the study population were obese (BMI > 30), and generally, more women than men were obese. However, at ages 15-19 significantly more males than females were obese (X2 = 73, p < 0.01). Both mean systolic and diastolic BP increased with increasing weight. When adjusting for gender, the association between hypertension and other CVD risk factors remained similar for males and females and gender was not a modifier of the factors. Of the CVD risk factors studied, Age > 40 years and obesity, were significantly associated with the presence of hypertension in this community (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.0001), smoking, alcohol intake and gender were not (P > 0.05). It is necessary to implement a national plan for the control of cardiovascular diseases in order to reduce and keep to minimum cardiovascular diseases and its complications in the country.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Health Transition
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*