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Evidence for affluence-related hypertension in urban Brazil


Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of mortality, and systemic hypertension is a major risk factor. There is an increasing prevalence of hypertension in urban areas of developing countries, due to lifestyle changes associated with economic transition and urbanisation. This study aimed to describe the prevalence and identify risk factors for hypertension in an urban area of South America (Coroa do Meio district in Aracaju, Sergipe State, north-east Brazil) and to examine intraurban hypertension prevalence differences. A cross-sectional survey of 400 adults aged 25 years and over was carried out. Information about health and lifestyle was obtained from a structured interview, followed by assessment of blood pressure (BP) and anthropometry. There were 31.8% (95% confidence interval 27.3–36.6%) participants with hypertension (defined as a systolic BP >140, diastolic BP >90 mmHg, or on antihypertensive medication). Hypertension was independently associated with older age, central obesity (greater waist-to-hip ratio), shorter height and residing in a high socio-economic residential area. Of the four neighbouring areas, hypertension prevalence was 52% in the area of highest income and education, compared with 19, 24 and 34% in the other three areas. The high prevalence of hypertension in this population, and the strong independent association with relative affluence, demonstrates the need for effective primary prevention of hypertension, targeted at modifiable risk factors.

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Correspondence to G Gill.

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Ala, L., Gill, G., Gurgel, R. et al. Evidence for affluence-related hypertension in urban Brazil. J Hum Hypertens 18, 775–779 (2004).

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  • Brazil
  • risk factors
  • blood pressure measurement
  • urbanisation

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