Objectives: There is little information available about the prevalence of chronic metabolic diseases in many Latin American countries. Between 1995 and 1998, studies on the prevalence of obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes were carried out in four cities located in central Argentina: Dean Funes, Oncativo, Pehuajo and Venado Tuerto. The data provided by these surveys are reanalysed here in order to determine prevalence of obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes using new epidemiological criteria.
Methods: Representative samples of the population, based on a multistage probabilistic sampling design, were taken from each of the four cities. The sample size was calculated to obtain a precision of 4% for the prevalence assessment. The subjects included were aged 20 years and over. Standardization of the prevalence rates used the entire study sample as the reference population.
Results: Age-standardised prevalence rates for the cities ranged between 22.4% and 30.8% for obesity, 27.9% and 43.6% for hypertension, 24.2% and 36.4% for hyperlipidemia, and 6.5% and 7.7% for diabetes mellitus. All these prevalences increased with age. 58.1% of the obese subjects and 51.2% of the diabetic subjects had hypertension, while 43.2% of the obese subjects and 52.8% of the diabetic subjects had hyperlipidemia.
Conclusions: While the prevalence of diabetes mellitus was between 6% and 8%, the prevalence of obesity was close to 26% and hypertension and hyperlipidemia affected one third of the population. These data can be considered as indicative of the prevalences of these four diseases in the population aged 20 years and over, in the central region of Argentina.