Pan African Medical Journal

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Prevalence of obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and associated risk factors in a mining workforce, Democratic Republic of Congo

Paul Makan Mawaw, Thierry Yav, Olivier Mukuku, Olivier Lukanka, Patrick Mumba Kazadi, Daniel Tambwe, Jules Omba, Jean-Baptiste Kakoma, Michael John Bangs, Oscar Numbi Luboya


Introduction: The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the largest increase occurs in Africa. Obesity, diabetes mellitus and hypertension (ODH) are major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, causing nearly 18 million deaths worldwide. Various risks associated with mining as an occupational activity are implicated in NCDs' occurrence. This study describes the baseline prevalence of ODH and associated risk factors in the workforce of Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM), in southern Democratic Republic of Congo. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of 2,749 employees' and contractor's occupational health examination files for 2010. Socio-demographic, occupational, medical, anthropometric and behavioral characteristics were collected and assessed. Disease status regards ODH was based on WHO criteria. A multivariate logistic regression model was used. Results: Overall prevalence of ODH was 4.5%, 11.7%, and 18.2% respectively. Proportions of pre-ODH individuals were 19.7%, 16.5%, and 47.8% respectively. Prevalence of ODH increased with age, professional grade, nature of work, gender and reported alcohol use. Smoking 10 or more cigarettes per day increased risk of diabetes and hypertension, while decreasing obesity. Conclusion: Rates of ODH and associated risk factors are higher in the TFM workforce, than in the general DRC population. This is likely reflective of other mining sites in the country and region. It is evident that ODH are associated with various socio-demographic, occupational, anthropometric, biomedical and behavioral risk factors. A NCD prevention program and close monitoring of disease and risk factors trends are needed in this population.

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