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Kaufman, Jay S.; Owoaje, Eme E.; James, Sherman A.; Rotimi, Charles N.; & Cooper, Richard S. (1996). Determinants of Hypertension in West Africa: Contribution of Anthropometric and Dietary Factors to Urban-Rural and Socioeconomic Gradients. American Journal of Epidemiology, 143(12), 1203-1218.


The determinants of hypertension in West Africa have not been well defined. The authors sampled 598 participants aged 45 years or more from a recent population-based survey in southwest Nigeria (190 rural men and women, 205 urban poor men and women, and 203 retired railway workmen). The estimated mean age was 61 (10) years. Mean pressures were low relative to westernized societies: systolic blood pressure = 124 (24) mmHg, diastolic blood pressure = 72 (13) mmHg. Both men and women were remarkably lean: body mass index = 21.3 (3.6) and 23.0 (5.2) kg/m2, respectively. Hypertension prevalence increased across the gradient from rural farmers to urban poor to railway workers: 14, 25, and 29 percent, respectively, had a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or greater, and 3, 11, and 14 percent, respectively, had a blood pressure of 160/95 mmHg or greater (p for trend < 0.01 for both cutpoints). On the basis of a 24-hour urine sample, daily electrolyte excretion was 110 (57) mEq of sodium and 46 (24) mEq of potassium. Mean sodium:potassium ratio was 2.6 (1.0) and was higher among the urban residents (p < 0.01) and correlated with systolic and diastolic pressures (r = 0.16-0.18, p < 0.01). These findings provide quantitative estimates of the impact of known hypertension risk factors in West Africa and demonstrate the basis for increased prevalence with urbanization and associated economic and dietary change. These results also provide support for recommendations for prevention in West Africa and provide a benchmark against which to compare populations in the African diaspora.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Epidemiology


Kaufman, Jay S.
Owoaje, Eme E.
James, Sherman A.
Rotimi, Charles N.
Cooper, Richard S.