n Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - Geographical influence on the distribution of the prevalence of hypertension in South Africa : a multilevel analysis - research

Volume 31 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1995-1892
  • E-ISSN: 1680-0745



Background: As a response to the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases, the South African government has set targets to reduce the prevalence of people with raised blood pressure, through lifestyle changes and medication, by 20% by the year 2020. It has also recognised that the prevalence varies at local administrative level. The study aim was to determine the geographical variation by district of the prevalence of hypertension among South African adults aged 15 years and above.
Methods: Data from all five waves of the National income Dynamics Study, a panel survey, were used for estimation by both design-based and multilevel analysis methods. In the multilevel analysis, a three-level hierarchy was used with panel participants in the first level, repeated measurements on patients in the second level, and districts in the third level.
Results: After accounting for demographic, behavioural, socio-economic and environmental factors, significant variation remained in the prevalence of hypertension at the district level. Districts with higher-than-average prevalence were found mostly in the south-western part of the country, while those with a prevalence below average were found in the northern area. Age, body mass index and race were the individual factors found to have a strong effect on hypertension prevalence for this sample.
Conclusions: There were significant differences in hypertension prevalence between districts and therefore the method of analysis and the results could be useful for more targeted preventative and control programmes.

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