Prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in China: data from 1·7 million adults in a population-based screening study (China PEACE Million Persons Project)

Lancet. 2017 Dec 9;390(10112):2549-2558. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32478-9. Epub 2017 Nov 5.


Background: Hypertension is common in China and its prevalence is rising, yet it remains inadequately controlled. Few studies have the capacity to characterise the epidemiology and management of hypertension across many heterogeneous subgroups. We did a study of the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in China and assessed their variations across many subpopulations.

Methods: We made use of data generated in the China Patient-Centered Evaluative Assessment of Cardiac Events (PEACE) Million Persons Project from Sept 15, 2014, to June 20, 2017, a population-based screening project that enrolled around 1·7 million community-dwelling adults aged 35-75 years from all 31 provinces in mainland China. In this population, we defined hypertension as systolic blood pressure of at least 140 mm Hg, or diastolic blood pressure of at least 90 mm Hg, or self-reported antihypertensive medication use in the previous 2 weeks. Hypertension awareness, treatment, and control were defined, respectively, among hypertensive adults as a self-reported diagnosis of hypertension, current use of antihypertensive medication, and blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. We assessed awareness, treatment, and control in 264 475 population subgroups-defined a priori by all possible combinations of 11 demographic and clinical factors (age [35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and 65-75 years], sex [men and women], geographical region [western, central, and eastern China], urbanity [urban vs rural], ethnic origin [Han and non-Han], occupation [farmer and non-farmer], annual household income [< ¥10 000, ¥10 000-50 000, and ≥¥50 000], education [primary school and below, middle school, high school, and college and above], previous cardiovascular events [yes or no], current smoker [yes or no], and diabetes [yes or no]), and their associations with individual and primary health-care site characteristics, using mixed models.

Findings: The sample contained 1 738 886 participants with a mean age of 55·6 years (SD 9·7), 59·5% of whom were women. 44·7% (95% CI 44·6-44·8) of the sample had hypertension, of whom 44·7% (44·6-44·8) were aware of their diagnosis, 30·1% (30·0-30·2) were taking prescribed antihypertensive medications, and 7·2% (7·1-7·2) had achieved control. The age-standardised and sex-standardised rates of hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control were 37·2% (37·1-37·3), 36·0% (35·8-36·2), 22·9% (22·7-23·0), and 5·7% (5·6-5·7), respectively. The most commonly used medication class was calcium-channel blockers (55·2%, 55·0-55·4). Among individuals whose hypertension was treated but not controlled, 81·5% (81·3-81·6) were using only one medication. The proportion of participants who were aware of their hypertension and were receiving treatment varied significantly across subpopulations; lower likelihoods of awareness and treatment were associated with male sex, younger age, lower income, and an absence of previous cardiovascular events, diabetes, obesity, or alcohol use (all p<0·01). By contrast, control rate was universally low across all subgroups (<30·0%).

Interpretation: Among Chinese adults aged 35-75 years, nearly half have hypertension, fewer than a third are being treated, and fewer than one in twelve are in control of their blood pressure. The low number of people in control is ubiquitous in all subgroups of the Chinese population and warrants broad-based, global strategy, such as greater efforts in prevention, as well as better screening and more effective and affordable treatment.

Funding: Ministry of Finance and National Health and Family Planning Commission, China.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors


  • Antihypertensive Agents