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Disease prevention is an effective strategy to decrease morbidity and mortality across a wide range of diseases and routine medical screening is a cost-effective method of improving population health and life expectancy. The aim of this study was to determine the practices of apparently healthy adults towards routine medical check-ups and screening for cardiovascular risk factors. This was done using a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study design. The study population was drawn from among adult residents of a rural (Jesse) and an urban (Warri) community in Delta State, South-South Nigeria.
A total of 866 respondents were studied, 44% were rural dwellers. Their mean age was 42.5(±16.05) years. Two-thirds (242/358) of the respondents who had completed secondary education were urban dwellers. A third of the respondents practiced routine medical screening and this was significantly higher among the urban dwellers (40.0% vs. 22.2% p<0.001). Among respondents who do not practice routine medical screening, 48.5% had no apparent reason and 70.1% were urban dwellers.
Majority of the respondents had no health care provider. The typical healthcare providers were doctors (25.7 %), pharmacist/dispenser (9.2%) and nurses (4.3%). Among respondents who had doctors as the typical healthcare provider, 26.9% have had education on cardiovascular risk factor prevention. This was significantly higher among urban dwellers.
Majority of the respondents have never had their blood pressure (56.0%), blood glucose (65.8%) and cholesterol (94.6%) checked, significantly higher among rural dwellers.
In conclusion, routine medical check-ups and screening for cardiovascular risk factors were poor in this study. There is a need for increased public health promotion and education among Nigerians.Keywords: Cardiovascular risk factors, medical check-up, adult