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Open Access Research article

Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in a middle-income country and estimated cost of a treatment strategy

Pascal Bovet12*, Conrad Shamlaye1, Anne Gabriel1, Walter Riesen3 and Fred Paccaud1

Author Affiliations

1 Ministry of Health and Social Services, Victoria, Seychelles

2 University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Lausanne, Switzerland

3 Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Hematology, Kantonspital, St Gallen, Switzerland

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-9

Published: 19 January 2006



We assessed the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a middle-income country in rapid epidemiological transition and estimated direct costs for treating all individuals at increased cardiovascular risk, i.e. following the so-called "high risk strategy".


Survey of risk factors using an age- and sex-stratified random sample of the population of Seychelles aged 25–64 in 2004. Assessment of CVD risk and treatment modalities were in line with international guidelines. Costs are expressed as US$ per capita per year.


1255 persons took part in the survey (participation rate of 80.2%). Prevalence of main risk factors was: 39.6% for high blood pressure (≥140/90 mmHg or treatment) of which 59% were under treatment; 24.2% for high cholesterol (≥6.2 mmol/l); 20.8% for low HDL-cholesterol (<1.0 mmol/l); 9.3% for diabetes (fasting glucose ≥7.0 mmol/l); 17.5% for smoking; 25.1% for obesity (body mass index ≥30 kg/m2) and 22.1% for the metabolic syndrome. Overall, 43% had HBP, high cholesterol or diabetes and substantially increased CVD risk. The cost for medications needed to treat all high-risk individuals amounted to US $45.6, i.e. $11.2 for high blood pressure, $3.8 for diabetes, and $30.6 for dyslipidemia (using generic drugs except for hypercholesterolemia). Cost for minimal follow-up medical care and laboratory tests amounted to $22.6.


High prevalence of major risk factors was found in a rapidly developing country and costs for treatment needed to reduce risk factors in all high-risk individuals exceeded resources generally available in low or middle income countries. Our findings emphasize the need for affordable cost-effective treatment strategies and the critical importance of population strategies aimed at reducing risk factors in the entire population.