Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 120-126

Evaluation of blood pressure and indices of obesity in a typical rural community in eastern Nigeria

1 Department of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Nigeria
2 Department of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria
3 Department of Chemical Pathology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Gladys I Ahaneku
Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, P. M. B. 5001, Nnewi, Anambra State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.82076

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Aim: With increasing urbanization of lifestyle, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have been on the increase in Africans. Studies on cardiovascular risk factors in rural communities in South East Nigeria are scarce. This study focused on hypertension and obesity in adult Nigerians dwelling in a rural setting in Eastern Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A total of 218 participants from the rural community were recruited into the study. A questionnaire was used to assess prior knowledge of their weight and blood pressure status as well as drug history for those found to have hypertension. Each participant's blood pressure was measured and any value ≥140/90 mmHg was regarded as high blood pressure (HBP). Their heights and weights were measured and their body mass indices (BMI) calculated using the standard formula of BMI = Weight in Kg/Height in m 2 ; BMI ≥30 Kg/m 2 was referred to as global obesity. Their waist circumferences (WC) were also measured and any value ≥102 cm for males and ≥88 cm for females was regarded as abdominal obesity. Results: The general prevalence of HBP in the rural community was 44.5%. The prevalence of HBP increased as age increased and awareness about HBP was low (15.2%). Females were more aware than the males. The prevalence of HBP was higher in males (49.3%) compared with their female counterparts (42.3%), whereas the females had a higher prevalence of all forms of obesity (abdominal: 36.2%, global: 14.8%) compared with the males (abdominal: 14.5%, global: 10.1%). Higher BMI was associated with higher systolic and diastolic BP values. Hypertensive participants had higher BMI and WC than those who had normal BP. Conclusion: The prevalence of both hypertension and obesity seems to be increasing in rural communities in Nigeria and thus, the available prevalence documented in previous studies for rural communities may no longer represent the current trend. Awareness of the participants about these major cardiovascular risk factors is still very low. Higher BMI was associated with higher values of both systolic and diastolic BP.

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