Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

A cross-sectional study of the prevalence and risk factors for hypertension in rural Nepali women

Rumana J Khan1, Christine P Stewart1, Parul Christian2, Kerry J Schulze2, Lee Wu2, Steven C LeClerq23, Subarna K Khatry3 and Keith P West2*

Author affiliations

1 Program in International and Community Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

2 Program in Human Nutrition, Department of International Health Bloomberg, School of Public Health Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, 21205, Maryland

3 Nepal Nutrition Intervention Project-Sarlahi, Kathmandu, Nepal

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-55

Published: 21 January 2013

Abstract

Background

The prevalence of hypertension is increasing in much of the South Asian region, including Nepal. This paper reports the prevalence and risk factors of hypertension and pre-hypertension among adult women in a rural community of Nepal.

Methods

Cross-sectional data on socioeconomic status (SES), lifestyle factors and blood pressure (BP) were collected from a cohort of 15,934 women in rural Nepal in 2006–08. Among a subsample (n = 1679), anthropometry and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk were measured.

Results

The mean age of women was 34.2 years (range 16.4-71.2 years). More than three percent (3.3%) had hypertension and 14.4% had pre-hypertension. In an adjusted analysis, lower SES, especially lower household farm assets and storage of food for long term consumption, was associated with increased odds of hypertension (OR = 1.14 for mid-level SES and OR = 1.40 for low SES; p for trend < 0.01). Smoking, alcohol use and not working outside the home were also associated with higher risk. In a subsample, both systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were positively associated with high triglycerides (SBP β = 4.1 mm Hg; DBP β =3.6 mm Hg), high HbA1c (SBP β = 14.0; DBP β = 9.2), raised fasting glucose (SBP β = 10.0; DBP β = 6.9), high BMI (SBP β = 6.7; DBP β = 5.1) and high waist circumference (SBP β = 6.2; DBP β = 5.3) after adjusting for potential confounders (p for all <0.01).

Conclusions

Although the prevalence of hypertension was low in this cohort, it was more prevalent among the poorer women and was strongly associated with other cardiovascular risks. These associations at a relatively young age may confer greater risk for cardiovascular disease among women in later life, indicating the need for interventions to reduce the progression from pre-hypertension to hypertension.

Keywords:
Blood pressure; Hypertension; Cardiovascular risk; Nepal; Rural