Alexandria Journal of Medicine

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Prevalence of pre-hypertension and hypertension and its related risk factors among undergraduate students in a Tertiary institution, Ghana

Daniel Gyamfi, Christian Obirikorang, Emmanuel Acheampong, Kwabena Owusu Danquah, Evans Adu Asamoah, Fatima Zarah Liman, Emmanuella Nsenbah Batu


Objectives: This study sought to provide information about pre-hypertension and hypertension status among undergraduate students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among a total of 540 students. Participants were interviewed using questionnaires and their blood pressures (BP), height, weight were measured and Body Mass Index ‘BMI’ and Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR) were calculated. Repeated measurements were obtained on two successive times in students with persistently elevated BP. Data obtained was entered and analyzed using SPSS version 23. Final prevalence was adjusted for loss-to- follow up on participants with first elevated BP from the reading and logistic regression used to evaluate risk factors. P-value less than .05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: Twelve (2.2%) of the students were hypertensive, whilst pre-hypertension was prevalent in 26.1% of the student. Family history of hypertension [OR = 1.68(0.73–1.68)], kidney failure [OR = 1.38(0.34– 5.60)], stroke [OR = 1.10(0.64–1.91)] and heart failure [OR = 1.03(0.27–3.94)] were associated with increased risk of developing pre-hypertension; however no significant association was observed (p > .05). WHtR and BMI were independent positively correlated with blood pressure status after controlling for gender and age (p < .05). Further analysis revealed that, obesity detected by WHtR [OR = 3.67 (1.13–11.94), p = .031] and BMI [OR = 6.89(0.71–66.48), p = .0005] were significant predictors of hypertension using logistic regression analysis.

Conclusion: The study revealed considerable prevalence rates of pre-hypertension and hypertension among undergraduate students, with significant risk factors such as obesity detected by BMI and WHtR. Gender as male was also significant for pre-hypertension and hypertension. Sound prevention and control programmes of hypertension should be devised among students, to improve their knowledge and lifestyle practices early in life.

Keywords: Hypertension, Pre-hypertension, Obesity, Tertiary students, Ghana

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