Assessment of measures of adiposity that correlate with blood pressure among hypertensive Africans
Background: Studies differ on which anthropometric measure of adiposity shows good correlation with cardiovascular diseases. In this study, we evaluated the effects of common epidemiological measures of adiposity as a correlate of elevated blood pressure in an African population.
Methodology: The study was carried out between June 2009 and December 2011 at the medical out-patient department of a tertiary healthcare center in Nigeria. Correlation analysis was used to assess the relationship between blood pressure and body mass index (BMI), waist to height ratio (WHtR), and waist circumference (WC).
Results: A total of 1,416 Hypertensives comprising 1090 (77%) adult females recruited over two and half years. Women were significantly older (49.2±8.1 vs. 48.0±10.0 years, p=0.039) and shorter (1.6±6.3 vs 1.7±6.8 meters, p<0.0001) when compared with men. Blood pressure parameters were comparable between women and men. Approximately 1 out of 5 participants had good blood pressure control with no gender difference. Anthropometric measurements showed that 446(32%) were overweight, 404(29%) obese and 40(3%) were morbidly obese. Compared with their male counterparts, females were significantly more likely to be obese (P<0.0001). Similarly, 51.6% of the subjects had abdominal obesity, with female preponderance (P<0.0001). Likewise, a greater proportion of women had substantially higher measured waist circumference risk. Compared with other measures of adiposity, body mass index correlated best with diastolic blood pressure in both gender (P< 0.05).
Conclusion: This study adds to the evidence that obesity is a major cardiovascular risk factor. BMI, as a measure of adiposity, was found to correlate best with blood pressure. These findings support other observations in other populations that BMI rather than waist to height ratio (WHtR), and waist circumference (WC) is a better correlate of hypertension.