Background: Low and middle-income countries are facing a high burden of cardiovascular disease while there is limited availability of resources and evidence to educate and modify lifestyle behaviours in the population as well as to guide policy making.
Aim: The goal of the present study was to quantify the prevalence of different cardiovascular risk behaviours among patients with known cardiovascular conditions in a developing country.
Methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in two referral hospitals in eastern Ethiopia. Outpatients who had a confirmed diagnosis of cardiovascular disease were recruited for the study. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with patients using validated tools.
Results: A total of 287 cardiovascular disease patients was recruited, of which 56.4% were women and 90.2% were urban residents. Most patients had inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables, 51.6% were physically inactive, 20% were current khat chewers, 19% were current alcohol drinkers and only 1% were current smokers. Approximately one-third (30%) of the patients had one of these risk behaviours, more than half (51.9%) had two, 15% had three and 3.1% had four risk behaviours. The majority (70%) of the patients had multiple (more than two) risk behaviours. The prevalence of multiple risk behaviours did not significantly vary with sex, residence and educational level differences (P>0.05).
Conclusion: Cardiovascular disease patients continue to follow unhealthy lifestyles although they attend follow-up care with a specific focus on risk management. The findings of this study provide evidence for policy makers that health services reform is required to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours for the patients.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; developing countries; lifestyle; risk behaviour.