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Int J Cardiol. 2015 Mar 15;183:180-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.01.061. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

Hypertension control in a large multi-ethnic cohort in Amsterdam, The Netherlands: the HELIUS study.

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Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Internal & Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Public Health Service Amsterdam, Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam.



Hypertension is a major problem among European ethnic minority groups. We assessed the current situation of hypertension prevalence and its management among a multi-ethnic population in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Data from the HELIUS study were used including 12,974 participants (1871 Ghanaian, 2184 African Surinamese, 2278 South-Asian Surinamese, 2277 Turkish, 2222 Moroccan and 2142 Dutch origin people), aged 18-70 years. Comparisons among groups were made using proportions and age-adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs).


Hypertension prevalence ranged from 24% and 16% in Moroccan men and women to 52% and 62% in Ghanaian men and women. Except for Moroccan women, age-adjusted PR of hypertension was higher in all the ethnic minority groups than in Dutch. Among hypertensives, ethnic minority groups generally had higher levels of hypertension awareness and BP lowering treatment than Dutch. Moreover, prevalence rates for the prescription of more than one BP lowering drug were generally higher in African and South-Asian origin groups compared with Dutch origin people. By contrast, BP control levels were lower in all the ethnic groups than in Dutch, with control rates being significantly lower in Ghanaian men (26%, PR=0.49; 95% CI, 0.37-0.66) and women (45%, PR=0.64; 0.52-0.77), African-Surinamese men (30%, PR=0.61; 0.46-0.81) and women (45%, PR=0.72; 0.51-0.77), and South-Asian Surinamese men (43%, PR=0.77; 0.61-0.97) and women (47%, PR=0.76; 0.63-0.92) compared with Dutch men (53%) and women (61%).


Our findings indicate poor BP control in ethnic minority groups despite the high treatment levels. More work is needed to unravel the potential factors contributing to the poor control in order to improve BP control in ethnic minority groups, particularly among African and South-Asian origin groups.


Ethnic minority groups; Hypertension; Hypertension therapy; Migration; The Netherlands

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