Open Access Research article

Hypertension: Development of a prediction model to adjust self-reported hypertension prevalence at the community level

Graciela Mentz1*, Amy J Schulz1, Bhramar Mukherjee2, Trivellore E Ragunathan2, Denise White Perkins3 and Barbara A Israel1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

2 Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

3 Institute of Multicultural Health, Henry Ford Health System, and Department of Family Practice, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:312  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-312

Published: 11 September 2012



Accurate estimates of hypertension prevalence are critical for assessment of population health and for planning and implementing prevention and health care programs. While self-reported data is often more economically feasible and readily available compared to clinically measured HBP, these reports may underestimate clinical prevalence to varying degrees. Understanding the accuracy of self-reported data and developing prediction models that correct for underreporting of hypertension in self-reported data can be critical tools in the development of more accurate population level estimates, and in planning population-based interventions to reduce the risk of, or more effectively treat, hypertension. This study examines the accuracy of self-reported survey data in describing prevalence of clinically measured hypertension in two racially and ethnically diverse urban samples, and evaluates a mechanism to correct self-reported data in order to more accurately reflect clinical hypertension prevalence.


We analyze data from the Detroit Healthy Environments Partnership (HEP) Survey conducted in 2002 and the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) 2001–2002 restricted to urban areas and participants 25 years and older. We re-calibrate measures of agreement within the HEP sample drawing upon parameter estimates derived from the NHANES urban sample, and assess the quality of the adjustment proposed within the HEP sample.


Both self-reported and clinically assessed prevalence of hypertension were higher in the HEP sample (29.7 and 40.1, respectively) compared to the NHANES urban sample (25.7 and 33.8, respectively). In both urban samples, self-reported and clinically assessed prevalence is higher than that reported in the full NHANES sample in the same year (22.9 and 30.4, respectively). Sensitivity, specificity and accuracy between clinical and self-reported hypertension prevalence were ‘moderate to good’ within the HEP sample and ‘good to excellent’ within the NHANES sample. Agreement between clinical and self-reported hypertension prevalence was ‘moderate to good’ within the HEP sample (kappa =0.65; 95% CI = 0.63-0.67), and ‘good to excellent’ within the NHANES sample (kappa = 0.75; 95%CI = 0.73-0.80). Application of a ‘correction’ rule based on prediction models for clinical hypertension using the national sample (NHANES) allowed us to re-calibrate sensitivity and specificity estimates for the HEP sample. The adjusted estimates of hypertension in the HEP sample based on two different correction models, 38.1% and 40.5%, were much closer to the observed hypertension prevalence of 40.1%.


Application of a simple prediction model derived from national NHANES data to self-reported data from the HEP (Detroit based) sample resulted in estimates that more closely approximated clinically measured hypertension prevalence in this urban community. Similar correction models may be useful in obtaining more accurate estimates of hypertension prevalence in other studies that rely on self-reported hypertension.