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Noncommunicable disease risk factors among older adults aged 60–69 years in Nepal: findings from the STEPS survey 2013

Journal of Human Hypertension (2019) | Download Citation

Abstract

Both the noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) burden and the population of older adults are increasing in Nepal. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of behavioral and biological risk factors of common NCDs among Nepali older adults aged 60–69 years. A subsample analysis of data from the 2013 Nepal STEPwise approach to Surveillance (STEPS) survey was conducted with 526 older adults aged 60–69 years. STEPS sample weighting and domain analyses were used to include the entire sample for variance estimation and to obtain prevalence estimates and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) for our selected population of older adults. All participants had at least one risk factor for NCDs; about one-fourth had four. Of the eight examined risk factors, inadequate fruit/vegetable intake (98.6%, 95% CI: 96.9–100.0), hypertension (57.2%, 95% CI: 51.0–63.4), and hypercholesterolemia (37.9%, 95% CI: 30.8–44.9) were ranked the three most prevalent risk factors while physical inactivity (2.5%, 95% CI: 1.0–4.0) was least prevalent. Prevalence of smoking was 31% (95% CI: 24.9–37.2), overweight/obesity was 19% (95% CI: 13.1–25.2), alcohol use was 18% (95% CI: 12.2–23.5), diabetes was 15% (95% CI: 8.5–21.4), and 36% (95% CI: 30.9–42.0) of the older participants suffered discomfort due to oral health problems. Several risk factors, including current alcohol consumption, daily servings of fruit/vegetable intake, and overweight/obesity showed signficant variation in prevalence by gender, ethnicity, and place of residence, urban vs. rural. Epidemiological and demographic transitions are two emerging public health issues in Nepal. The baseline information provided by this study on the prevalence of NCD risk factors among Nepali older adults aged 60–69 years can inform policies and programs that focus on maximizing the health and well-being of older adults.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Nepal Health Research Council, Government of Nepal for allowing us to use the STEPS survey 2013 data for this study. We are thankful to Prof. Dr. Anjani Kumar Jha, Executive Chairperson of NHRC for his kind support for this study.

Funding

The original STEPS survey 2013 was funded by Government of Nepal and the WHO’s Country Office in Nepal. This sub-study did not receive any funding.

Author contributions

SG conceived, designed, and conducted the analyses. SG, SRM, BKB, and KEC wrote the first draft of the paper. MD, KEC, BB, and KKA revised and edited the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript version.

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Affiliations

  1. School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, 89154, USA

    • Saruna Ghimire
    •  & Karen E. Callahan
  2. Nepal Development Society, Bharatpur-10, Nepal

    • Shiva Raj Mishra
  3. Department of Biochemistry, Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

    • Binaya Kumar Baral
  4. Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC), Ramshah Path, Kathmandu, Nepal

    • Meghnath Dhimal
    •  & Bihungum Bista
  5. Nepal Health Sector Programme 3 (NHSP3), Monitoring Evaluation and Operational Research Project, Abt Associates, Lalitpur, Nepal

    • Krishna Kumar Aryal

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Saruna Ghimire.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41371-019-0161-7