Objective: To assess ethnic differences in prevalence, levels of awareness, treatment and control of hypertension among Dutch ethnic groups and to determine whether these differences are consistent with the UK findings.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: South-east Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Participants: A random sample of 1383 non-institutional adults aged 35-60 years. Of these, 36.7% were White, 42% were Black and 21.3% were South Asian people.
Main outcome measures: Prevalence of hypertension, rates of awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension.
Results: The Black and South Asian subjects had a higher prevalence of hypertension compared with White people. After adjustments for age, the odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for being hypertensive were 2.2 (1.4-3.4; P < 0.0001) and 3.8 (2.6-5.7; P < 0.0001) for Black men and women, respectively, and 1.7 (1.0-2.6; P = 0.039) and 2.8 (1.8-4.5; P < 0.0001) for South Asian men and women, compared with White people. There were no differences in awareness and pharmacological treatment of hypertension between the groups. However, Black hypertensive men 0.3 (0.1-0.7; P < 0.01) and women 0.5 (0.3-0.9; P < 0.05) were less likely to have their blood pressure adequately controlled compared with White people.
Conclusion: The higher prevalence of hypertension found among Black and South Asian people in The Netherlands is consistent with the UK studies. However, the lower control rates and the similar levels of awareness and treatment of hypertension in Black Surinamese contrast with the higher rates reported in African Caribbeans in the UK. The rates for the South Asians in The Netherlands were relatively favourable compared to similar South Asian groups in the UK. These findings underscore the urgent need to develop strategies aimed at improving the prevention and control of hypertension, especially among Black people, in The Netherlands.