Prevalence, awareness, treatment, control and risk factors for hypertension in a rural population in South India

Int J Public Health. 2012 Feb;57(1):87-94. doi: 10.1007/s00038-011-0303-3. Epub 2011 Sep 23.


Objectives: Hypertension is a major public health problem with prevalence ranging 22-30% in urban India. There are few data on hypertension epidemiology in rural India. We conducted a survey to estimate prevalence, awareness, treatment, control and risk factors for hypertension in a rural population in south India.

Methods: We did cross-sectional survey in 11 villages in Tamil Nadu. We collected data on behavioral risk factors, anthropometric and blood pressure measurements. We defined hypertension according to WHO criteria.

Results: Study population included 10,463 subjects aged 25-64 years. Among them, 4,900 (46.8%) were males. Hypertension was present for 2,247 (21.4%) subjects and 1,682 (74.9%) among hypertensives were newly detected. Overall 20% were on treatment and 6.6% had blood pressure control. Age ≥35 years, BMI ≥ 23 kg/m(2) and central obesity were risk factors significantly associated with hypertension (p < 0.05). In addition, alcohol consumption, higher education level were risk factor among males and family history of hypertension was risk factor among females (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Hypertension is an emerging challenge in rural India. We need health promotion programs and reorientation of primary health care to improve hypertension detection and management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Social Class