The Yanomami Indians in the INTERSALT Study

Arq Bras Cardiol. 2003 Mar;80(3):289-300. doi: 10.1590/s0066-782x2003000300005.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Objective: To study the distribution and interrelationship among constitutional and biochemical variables with blood pressure (BP) in an population of Yanomami indians. To compare these findings with those of other populations.

Methods: The Yanomami indians were part of the INTERSALT, a study comprising 10,079 males and females, aged from 20 to 59 years, belonging to 52 populations in 32 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Each of the 52 centers was required to accrue 200 individuals, 25 participants in each age group. The variables analyzed were as follows: age, sex, arterial BP, urinary sodium and potassium excretion (24-hour urine), body mass index, and alcohol ingestion.

Results: The findings in the Yanomami population were as follows: a very low urinary sodium excretion (0.9 mmol/24 h); mean systolic and diastolic BP levels of 95.4 mmHg and 61.4 mmHg, respectively; no cases of hypertension or obesity; and they have no knowledge of alcoholic beverages. Their BP levels do not elevate with age. The urinary sodium excretion relates positively and the urinary potassium excretion relates negatively to systolic BP. This correlation was maintained even when controlled for age and body mass index.

Conclusion: A positive relation between salt intake and blood pressure was detected in the analysis of a set of diverse populations participating in the INTERSALT Study, including populations such as the Yanomami Indians. The qualitative observation of their lifestyle provided additional information.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brazil / ethnology
  • Diastole
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / ethnology*
  • Hypertension / urine
  • Indians, South American*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium / urine
  • Sodium / urine
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects*
  • Systole


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Sodium
  • Potassium