Open Access Research article

The prevalence of chronic diseases and major disease risk factors at different ages among 150 000 men and women living in Mexico City: cross-sectional analyses of a prospective study

Pablo Kuri-Morales1, Jonathan Emberson2*, Jesús Alegre-Díaz3, Roberto Tapia-Conyer1, Rory Collins2, Richard Peto2 and Gary Whitlock2

Author Affiliations

1 Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico

2 Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

3 Secretaria de Salud, Direccion General de Epidemiologia, Mexico City, Mexico

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-9

Published: 9 January 2009

Abstract

Background

While most of the global burden from chronic diseases, and especially vascular diseases, is now borne by low and middle-income countries, few large-scale epidemiological studies of chronic diseases in such countries have been performed.

Methods

From 1998–2004, 52 584 men and 106 962 women aged ≥35 years were visited in their homes in Mexico City. Self reported diagnoses of chronic diseases and major disease risk factors were ascertained and physical measurements taken. Age- and sex-specific prevalences and means were analysed.

Results

After about age 50 years, diabetes was extremely common – for example, 23.8% of men and 26.9% of women aged 65–74 reported a diagnosis. By comparison, ischaemic heart disease was reported by 4.8% of men and 3.0% of women aged 65–74, a history of stroke by 2.8% and 2.3%, respectively, and a history of cancer by 1.3% and 2.1%. Cancer history was generally more common among women than men – the excess being largest in middle-age, due to breast and cervical cancer. At older ages, the gap narrowed because of an increasing prevalence of prostate cancer. 51% of men and 25% of women aged 35–54 smoked cigarettes, while 29% of men and 41% of women aged 35–54 were obese (i.e. BMI ≥30 kg/m2). The prevalence of treated hypertension or measured blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg increased about 50% more steeply with age among women than men, to 66% of women and 58% of men aged 65–74. Physical inactivity was highly prevalent but daily alcohol drinking was relatively uncommon.

Conclusion

Diabetes, obesity and tobacco smoking are highly prevalent among adults living in Mexico City. Long-term follow-up of this and other cohorts will establish the relevance of such factors to the major causes of death and disability in Mexico.