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Ethn Dis. 2017 Jan 19;27(1):15-20. doi: 10.18865/ed.27.1.15.

Determinants of Raised Blood Pressure in Urban Uganda: A Community-Based Case-Control Study.

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Department of Neurology, New York University, Langone Medical Center, New York, New York; School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Department of Medical Services, Uganda Defense Forces, Uganda; Department of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda.
Center for Health Policy and Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Department of Medicine, Stanford University; Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, Quinnipiac University, North Haven, Connecticut; Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda.
Department of Physiology, Department of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda.



Rapid urbanization is changing the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to identify the determinants of raised blood pressure in urban Uganda to highlight targets for preventive interventions.




Three community-based sites in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.


Participants were eligible to enroll if they were aged ≥18 years and not pregnant.


450 cases with raised blood pressure were frequency matched by sex and age to 412 controls. Unconditional logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of socio-demographic, lifestyle, anthropometric, and laboratory variables with the outcome of raised blood pressure. Cases currently treated with antihypertensive medication and cases not treated with antihypertensive medication were analyzed separately.


Significantly increased odds of raised blood pressure were associated with overweight body mass index (BMI) (25 kg/m2 ≤ BMI < 30 kg/m2), obese BMI (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and hemoglobin A1c ≥ 6.5%. Significantly decreased odds of raised blood pressure were associated with moderate-to-vigorous work-related physical activity of >4 hours/week. No significant associations were found between raised blood pressure and marital status, education level, car or flush toilet ownership, dietary habits, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, moderate-to-vigorous leisure-related physical activity > 4 hours/week, waist-to-hip ratio, or total cholesterol levels.


Targeted interventions are needed to address the key modifiable risk factors for raised blood pressure identified in this study, namely elevated BMI and regular physical activity, in order to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in urban Uganda.


Africa; Cardiovascular Disease; Hypertension; Obesity; Stroke; Uganda

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