Untreated hypertension among Australian adults: the 1999-2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab)

Med J Aust. 2003 Aug 4;179(3):135-9. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05114.x.


Objective: To measure the prevalence of untreated hypertension in Australian adults, and examine the associations with clinical and lifestyle factors.

Design: AusDiab, a cross-sectional survey conducted between May 1999 and December 2000, involved participants from 42 randomly selected census districts throughout Australia.

Participants: Of 20 347 eligible people aged >or= 25 years who completed a household interview, 11 247 attended a physical examination (response rate, 55%).

Main outcome measures: The prevalence of hypertension (blood pressure >or= 140/90 mmHg or self-reported use of antihypertensive drugs) and its treatment; associations of clinical and lifestyle factors with the treatment of hypertension; and adequacy of treatment for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Results: The prevalence of hypertension was 28.6 per 100 (95% CI, 25.0-32.3), and the prevalence of untreated hypertension was 15.2 per 100 (95% CI, 13.2-17.2). Of those with untreated hypertension, 80.8% (95% CI, 74.7%-85.0%) had had a blood pressure check within the preceding 12 months. At least one modifiable lifestyle factor was present in 71.7% (95% CI, 68.5%-74.8%) of participants with untreated hypertension. Although lower risk clinical characteristics of younger age and lack of hyperlipidaemia were independently associated with untreated hypertension, 53.5% warranted treatment based on current cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines and multivariable absolute risk assessment.

Conclusions: Considerable scope remains for reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease through lifestyle modification and rational treatment of hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Physical Examination
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Antihypertensive Agents