Comparing self-rating health responses across individuals and cultures is misleading due to different reporting behaviors. Anchoring vignettes is a technique that allows identifying and adjusting self-rating responses for reporting heterogeneity (RH).
This article aims to test two crucial assumptions of vignette equivalence (VE) and response consistency (RC) that are required to be met before vignettes can be used to adjust self-rating responses for RH.
We used self-ratings, vignettes, and objective measures covering domains of mobility and cognition from the WHO study on global AGEing and adult health, administered to older adults aged 50 years and above from eight low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Asia. For VE, we specified a hierarchical ordered probit (HOPIT) model to test for equality of perceived vignette locations. For RC, we tested for equality of thresholds that are used to rate vignettes with thresholds derived from objective measures and used to rate their own health function.
There was evidence of RH in self-rating responses for difficulty in mobility and cognition. Assumptions of VE and RC between countries were violated driven by age, sex, and education. However, within a country context, assumption of VE was met in some countries (mainly in Africa, except Tanzania) and violated in others (mainly in Asia, except India).
We conclude that violation of assumptions of RC and VE precluded the use of anchoring vignettes to adjust self-rated responses for RH across countries in Asia and Africa.
reporting heterogeneity; mobility; cognition; self-rating; anchoring vignettes; vignette equivalence; response consistency
Selection bias and declining participation rates are of concern in many long-term epidemiological studies. The Västerbotten Intervention Programme (VIP) was launched in 1985 as a response to alarming reports on elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in Västerbotten County in Northern Sweden. The VIP invites women and men to a health examination and health counselling during the year of their 40th, 50th, and 60th birthdays.
To evaluate trends in participation rates and determinants of participation in the VIP from 1990 to 2006.
Registry data on socio-economic status from Statistics Sweden, and mortality and hospitalisation data from the National Board of Health and Welfare, both covering the whole Swedish population, were linked to the VIP and analysed for participants and non-participants.
During 1990–2006, 117,710 individuals were eligible to participate in the VIP, and 40,472 of them were eligible to participate twice. There were 96,560 observations for participants and 61,622 for non-participants. The overall participation rate increased from 56 to 65%. Participants and non-participants had minimal differences in education and age. Initial small differences by sex and degree of urban residence decreased over time. Despite an increasing participation rate in all groups, those with low income or who were single had an approximately 10% lower participation rate than those with high or medium-income or who were married or cohabitating.
Sustainability of the VIP is based on organisational integration into primary health care services and targeting of the entire middle-aged population. This enables the programme to meet population expectations of health promotion and to identify high-risk individuals who are then entered into routine preventive health care services. This has the potential to increase participation rates, to minimise social selection bias, and to reinforce other community-based interventions.
health surveys; intervention; community participation; primary health care; selection bias
A dengue early warning system aims to prevent a dengue outbreak by providing an accurate prediction of a rise in dengue cases and sufficient time to allow timely decisions and preventive measures to be taken by local authorities. This study seeks to identify the optimal lead time for warning of dengue cases in Singapore given the duration required by a local authority to curb an outbreak.
Methodology and Findings
We developed a Poisson regression model to analyze relative risks of dengue cases as functions of weekly mean temperature and cumulative rainfall with lag times of 1–5 months using spline functions. We examined the duration of vector control and cluster management in dengue clusters > = 10 cases from 2000 to 2010 and used the information as an indicative window of the time required to mitigate an outbreak. Finally, we assessed the gap between forecast and successful control to determine the optimal timing for issuing an early warning in the study area. Our findings show that increasing weekly mean temperature and cumulative rainfall precede risks of increasing dengue cases by 4–20 and 8–20 weeks, respectively. These lag times provided a forecast window of 1–5 months based on the observed weather data. Based on previous vector control operations, the time needed to curb dengue outbreaks ranged from 1–3 months with a median duration of 2 months. Thus, a dengue early warning forecast given 3 months ahead of the onset of a probable epidemic would give local authorities sufficient time to mitigate an outbreak.
Optimal timing of a dengue forecast increases the functional value of an early warning system and enhances cost-effectiveness of vector control operations in response to forecasted risks. We emphasize the importance of considering the forecast-mitigation gaps in respective study areas when developing a dengue forecasting model.
A dengue early warning system that would provide an accurate forecast could enhance the effectiveness of dengue control, but only if it is given in sufficient time for local authorities to implement those control operations. In this study, we have suggested the optimal timing for issuing a warning of a dengue outbreak in Singapore that will allow authorities adequate time to respond. We first analyzed the relationship between the risk of dengue cases and weather predictors at 1–5 month lag times to gauge the possible lead time for providing an accurate dengue forecast. We then determined the average time needed for local authorities to curb the outbreak of clusters of 10 dengue cases or more using vector control and cluster duration records for the period 2000–2010. Increasing weekly mean temperature and cumulative rainfall preceded a rise in dengue cases up to 5 months with higher risks evident at a lag time of 3–4 months. Local authorities required an average of 2 months with a maximum of 3 months for effective control. Therefore, a dengue early warning given at least 3 months ahead of time would provide sufficient time for local authorities to moderate an outbreak.
Data for trends in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are needed to set priorities and evaluate intervention programmes in the community. We estimated time trends in blood pressure (BP), anthropometric variables and smoking in the Vietnamese population and highlighted the differences between men and women or between rural and urban areas.
A dataset of 23,563 adults aged 25–74 from 5 cross-sectional surveys undertaken within Vietnam from 2001 to 2009 by the Vietnam National Heart Institute was used to estimate mean BP, weight, waist circumference (WC), body mass index (BMI), the prevalence of hypertension, adiposity or smoking, which were standardised to the national age structure of 2009. Multilevel mixed linear models were used to estimate annual changes in the variables of interest, adjusted by age, sex, residential area, with random variations for age and surveyed provinces.
Among the adult population, the age-standardised mean systolic and diastolic BP increased by 0.8 and 0.3 mmHg in women, 1.1 and 0.4 mmHg in men, while the mean BMI increased by 0.1 kgm−2 in women, 0.2 kgm−2 in men per year. Consequently, the prevalence of hypertension and adiposity increased by 0.9 and 0.3% in women, 1.1 and 0.9% in men with similar time trends in both rural and urban areas, while smoking prevalence only increased in women by 0.3% per year. A U-shaped association was found between age-adjusted BP and BMI in both sexes and in both areas.
From 2001 to 2009, mean BP, weight and WC significantly increased in the Vietnamese population, leading to an increased prevalence of hypertension and adiposity, suggesting the need for the development of multi-sectoral cost-effective population-based interventions to improve CVD management and prevention. The U-shaped relationship between BP and BMI highlighted the hypertension burden in the underweight population, which is usually neglected in CVD interventions.
Health promotion is a key component for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study evaluated the impact of healthy lifestyle promotion campaigns on CVD risk factors (CVDRF) in the general population in the context of a community-based programme on hypertension management.
A quasi-experimental intervention study was carried out in two rural communes of Vietnam from 2006 to 2009. In the intervention commune, a hypertensive-targeted management programme integrated with a community-targeted health promotion was initiated, while no new programme, apart from conventional healthcare services, was provided in the reference commune. Health promotion campaigns focused on smoking cessation, reducing alcohol consumption, encouraging physical activity and reducing salty diets. Repeated cross-sectional surveys in local adult population aged 25 years and over were undertaken to assess changes in blood pressure (BP) and behavioural CVDRFs (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and salty diet) in both communes before and after the 3-year intervention.
Overall 4,650 adults above 25 years old were surveyed, in four randomly independent samples covering both communes at baseline and after the 3-year intervention. Although physical inactivity and obesity increased over time in the intervention commune, there was a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic BP (3.3 and 4.7 mmHg in women versus 3.0 and 4.6 mmHg in men respectively) in the general population at the intervention commune. Health promotion reduced levels of salty diets but had insignificant impact on the prevalence of daily smoking or heavy alcohol consumption.
Community-targeted healthy lifestyle promotion can significantly improve some CVDRFs in the general population in a rural area over a relatively short time span. Limited effects on a context-bound CVDRF like smoking suggested that higher intensity of intervention, a supportive environment or a gender approach are required to maximize the effectiveness and maintain the sustainability of the health intervention.
Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Healthy lifestyle promotion; Community-based intervention; Hypertension management; Quasi-experimental study; Vietnam
Empirical studies on the association between self-rated health (SRH) and subsequent mortality are generally lacking in low- and middle-income countries. The evidence on whether socio-economic status and education modify this association is inconsistent. This study aims to fill these gaps using longitudinal data from a Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) site in Indonesia.
In 2010, we assessed the mortality status of 11,753 men and women aged 50+ who lived in Purworejo HDSS and participated in the INDEPTH WHO SAGE baseline in 2007. Information on self-rated health, socio-demographic indicators, disability and chronic disease were collected through face-to-face interview at baseline. We used Cox-proportional hazards regression for mortality and included all variables measured at baseline, including interaction terms between SRH and both education and socio-economic status (SES).
During an average of 36 months follow-up, 11% of men and 9.5% of women died, resulting in death rates of 3.1 and 2.6 per 1,000 person-months, respectively. The age-adjusted Hazard Ratio (HR) for mortality was 17% higher in men than women (HR = 1.17; 95% CI = 1.04–1.31). After adjustment for covariates, the hazard ratios for mortality in men and women reporting bad health were 3.0 (95% CI = 2.0–4.4) and 4.9 (95% CI = 3.2–7.4), respectively. Education and SES did not modify this association for either sex.
This study supports the predictive power of bad self-rated health for subsequent mortality in rural Indonesian men and women 50 years old and over. In these analyses, education and household socio-economic status do not modify the relationship between SRH and mortality. This means that older people who rate their own health poorly should be an important target group for health service interventions.
Background. Data on cardiovascular disease risk factors (CVDRFs) in Vietnam are limited. This study explores the prevalence of each CVDRF and how they cluster to evaluate CVDRF burdens and potential prevention strategies.
Methods. A cross-sectional survey in 2009 (2,130 adults) was done to collect data on behavioural CVDRF, anthropometry and blood pressure, lipidaemia profiles, and oral glucose tolerance tests. Four metabolic CVDRFs (hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, and obesity) and five behavioural CVDRFs (smoking, excessive alcohol intake, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and stress) were analysed to identify their prevalence, cluster patterns, and social predictors. Framingham scores were applied to estimate the global 10-year CVD risks and potential benefits of CVD prevention strategies. Results. The age-standardised prevalence of having at least 2/4 metabolic, 2/5 behavioural, or 4/9 major CVDRF was 28%, 27%, 13% in women and 32%, 62%, 34% in men. Within-individual clustering of metabolic factors was more common among older women and in urban areas. High overall CVD risk (≥20% over 10 years) identified 20% of men and 5% of women—especially at higher ages—who had coexisting CVDRF. Conclusion. Multiple CVDRFs were common in Vietnamese adults with different clustering patterns across sex/age groups. Tackling any single risk factor would not be efficient.
Due to scanty individual health data in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), health planners often use imperfect data sources. Frequent national-level data are considered essential, even if their depth and quality are questionable. However, quality in-depth data from local sentinel populations may be better than scanty national data, if such local data can be considered as nationally representative. The difficulty is the lack of any theoretical or empirical basis for demonstrating that local data are representative where data on the wider population are unavailable. Thus these issues can only be explored empirically in a complete individual dataset at national and local levels, relating to a LMIC population profile.
Methods and Findings
Swedish national data for 1925 were used, characterised by relatively high mortality, a low proportion of older people and substantial mortality due to infectious causes. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of Sweden then and LMICs now are very similar. Rates of livebirths, stillbirths, infant and cause-specific mortality were calculated at national and county levels. Results for six million people in 24 counties showed that most counties had overall mortality rates within 10% of the national level. Other rates by county were mostly within 20% of national levels. Maternal mortality represented too rare an event to give stable results at the county level.
After excluding obviously outlying counties (capital city, island, remote areas), any one of the remaining 80% closely reflected the national situation in terms of key demographic and mortality parameters, each county representing approximately 5% of the national population. We conclude that this scenario would probably translate directly to about 40 LMICs with populations under 10 million, and to individual states or provinces within about 40 larger LMICs. Unsubstantiated claims that local sub-national population data are “unrepresentative” or “only local” should not therefore predominate over likely representativity.
Costly efforts have been invested to control and prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and their risk factors but the ideal solutions for low resource settings remain unclear. This paper aims at summarising our approaches to implementing a programme on hypertension management in a rural commune of Vietnam.
In a rural commune, a programme has been implemented since 2006 to manage hypertensive people at the commune health station and to deliver health education on CVD risk factors to the entire community. An initial cross-sectional survey was used to screen for hypertensives who might enter the management programme. During 17 months of implementation, other people with hypertension were also followed up and treated. Data were collected from all individual medical records, including demographic factors, behavioural CVD risk factors, blood pressure levels, and number of check-ups. These data were analysed to identify factors relating to adherence to the management programme.
Both top-down and bottom-up approaches were applied to implement a hypertension management programme. The programme was able to run independently at the commune health station after 17 months. During the implementation phase, 497 people were followed up with an overall regular follow-up of 65.6% and a dropout of 14.3%. Severity of hypertension and effectiveness of treatment were the main factors influencing the decision of people to adhere to the management programme, while being female, having several behavioural CVD risk factors or a history of chronic disease were the predictors for deviating from the programme.
Our model showed the feasibility, applicability and future potential of a community-based model of comprehensive hypertension care in a low resource context using both top-down and bottom-up approaches to engage all involved partners. This success also highlighted the important roles of both local authorities and a cardiac care network, led by an outstanding cardiac referral centre.
Increasing life expectancy and longevity for people in many highly populated low- and middle-income countries has led to an increase in the number of older people. The population aged 60 years and over in Indonesia is projected to increase from 8.4% in 2005 to 25% in 2050. Understanding the determinants of healthy ageing is essential in targeting health-promotion programmes for older people in Indonesia.
To describe patterns of socio-economic and demographic factors associated with health status, and to identify any spatial clustering of poor health among older people in Indonesia.
In 2007, the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) was conducted among 14,958 people aged 50 years and over in Purworejo District, Central Java, Indonesia. Three outcome measures were used in this analysis: self-reported quality of life (QoL), self-reported functioning and disability, and overall health score calculated from self-reported health over eight health domains. The factors associated with each health outcome were identified using multivariable logistic regression. Purely spatial analysis using Poisson regression was conducted to identify clusters of households with poor health outcomes.
Women, older age groups, people not in any marital relationship and low educational and socio-economic levels were associated with poor health outcomes, regardless of the health indices used. Older people with low educational and socio-economic status (SES) had 3.4 times higher odds of being in the worst QoL quintile (OR = 3.35; 95% CI = 2.73–4.11) as compared to people with high education and high SES. This disadvantaged group also had higher odds of being in the worst functioning and most disabled quintile (OR = 1.67; 95% CI = 1.35–2.06) and the lowest overall health score quintile (OR = 1.66; 95% CI = 1.36–2.03). Poor health and QoL are not randomly distributed among the population over 50 years old in Purworejo District, Indonesia. Spatial analysis showed that clusters of households with at least one member being in the worst quintiles of QoL, functioning and health score intersected in the central part of Purworejo District, which is a semi-urban area with more developed economic activities compared with other areas in the district.
Being female, old, unmarried and having low educational and socio-economic levels were significantly associated with poor self-reported QoL, health status and disability among older people in Purworejo District. This study showed the existence of geographical pockets of vulnerable older people in Purworejo District, and emphasized the need to take immediate action to address issues of older people's health and QoL.
adult health; health status; clustering; quality of life; disability; ageing; Purworejo; Indonesia; INDEPTH WHO-SAGE
To effectively and efficiently respond to the growing health needs of older people, it is critical to have an indepth understanding about their health status, quality of life (QoL) and related factors. This paper, taking advantage of the INDEPTH WHO-SAGE study on global ageing and adult health, aims to describe the pattern of health status and QoL among older adults in a rural community of Viet Nam, and examine their associations with some socio-economic factors.
The study was carried out in the Bavi District, a rural community located 60 km west of Hanoi, the capital, within the Epidemiological Field Laboratory of Bavi (FilaBavi). Face-to-face household interviews were conducted with people aged 50 years and over who lived in the FilaBavi area. The interviews were performed by trained surveyors from FilaBavi using a standard summary version SAGE questionnaire. Both descriptive and analytical statistics were used to examine the patterns of health status and QoL, and associations with socio-economic factors.
Higher proportions of women reported both poor health status and poor QoL compared to men. Age was shown to be a factor significantly associated with poor health status and poor QoL. Higher educational level was a significant positive predictor of both health status and QoL among the study subjects. Higher economic status was also associated with both health status and QoL. The respondents whose families included more older people were significantly less likely to have poor QoL.
The findings reveal problems of inequality in health status and QoL among older adults in the study setting by sex, age, education and socio-economic status. Given the findings, actions targeted towards improving the health of disadvantaged people (women, older people and lower education and economic status) are needed in this setting.
older people; health status; quality of life; rural; Viet Nam; INDEPTH WHO-SAGE
Globally, ageing impacts all countries, with a majority of older persons residing in lower- and middle-income countries now and into the future. An understanding of the health and well-being of these ageing populations is important for policy and planning; however, research on ageing and adult health that informs policy predominantly comes from higher-income countries. A collaboration between the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) and International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health in developing countries (INDEPTH), with support from the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS), has resulted in valuable health, disability and well-being information through a first wave of data collection in 2006–2007 from field sites in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India.
To provide an overview of the demographic and health characteristics of participating countries, describe the research collaboration and introduce the first dataset and outputs.
Data from two SAGE survey modules implemented in eight Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) were merged with core HDSS data to produce a summary dataset for the site-specific and cross-site analyses described in this supplement. Each participating HDSS site used standardised training materials and survey instruments. Face-to-face interviews were conducted. Ethical clearance was obtained from WHO and the local ethical authority for each participating HDSS site.
People aged 50 years and over in the eight participating countries represent over 15% of the current global older population, and is projected to reach 23% by 2030. The Asian HDSS sites have a larger proportion of burden of disease from non-communicable diseases and injuries relative to their African counterparts. A pooled sample of over 46,000 persons aged 50 and over from these eight HDSS sites was produced. The SAGE modules resulted in self-reported health, health status, functioning (from the WHO Disability Assessment Scale (WHODAS-II)) and well-being (from the WHO Quality of Life instrument (WHOQoL) variables). The HDSS databases contributed age, sex, marital status, education, socio-economic status and household size variables.
The INDEPTH WHO–SAGE collaboration demonstrates the value and future possibilities for this type of research in informing policy and planning for a number of countries. This INDEPTH WHO–SAGE dataset will be placed in the public domain together with this open-access supplement and will be available through the GHA website (www.globalhealthaction.net) and other repositories. An improved dataset is being developed containing supplementary HDSS variables and vignette-adjusted health variables. This living collaboration is now preparing for a next wave of data collection.
ageing; survey methods; public health; burden of disease; demographic transition; disability; well-being; health status; INDEPTH WHO-SAGE
Declining rates of fertility and mortality are driving demographic transition in all regions of the world, leading to global population ageing and consequently changing patterns of global morbidity and mortality. Understanding sex-related health differences, recognising groups at risk of poor health and identifying determinants of poor health are therefore very important for both improving health trajectories and planning for the health needs of ageing populations.
To determine the extent to which demographic and socio-economic factors impact upon measures of health in older populations in Africa and Asia; to examine sex differences in health and further explain how these differences can be attributed to demographic and socio-economic determinants.
A total of 46,269 individuals aged 50 years and over in eight Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) sites within the INDEPTH Network were studied during 2006–2007 using an abbreviated version of the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) Wave I instrument. The survey data were then linked to longitudinal HDSS background information. A health score was calculated based on self-reported health derived from eight health domains. Multivariable regression and post-regression decomposition provide ways of measuring and explaining the health score gap between men and women.
Older men have better self-reported health than older women. Differences in household socio-economic levels, age, education levels, marital status and living arrangements explained from about 82% and 71% of the gaps in health score observed between men and women in South Africa and Kenya, respectively, to almost nothing in Bangladesh. Different health domains contributed differently to the overall health scores for men and women in each country.
This study confirmed the existence of sex differences in self-reported health in low- and middle-income countries even after adjustments for differences in demographic and socio-economic factors. A decomposition analysis suggested that sex differences in health differed across the HDSS sites, with the greatest level of inequality found in Bangladesh. The analysis showed considerable variation in how differences in socio-demographic and economic characteristics explained the gaps in self-reported health observed between older men and women in African and Asian settings. The overall health score was a robust indicator of health, with two domains, pain and sleep/energy, contributing consistently across the HDSS sites. Further studies are warranted to understand other significant individual and contextual determinants to which these sex differences in health can be attributed. This will lay a foundation for a more evidence-based approach to resource allocation, and to developing health promotion programmes for older men and women in these settings.
ageing; survey methods; public health; burden of disease; demographic transition; disability; well-being; health status; INDEPTH WHO-SAGE
Background and objective
In Sweden, mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) increased steadily during the 20th century and in the mid-1980s it was highest in the county of Västerbotten. Therefore, a community intervention programme was launched – the Västerbotten Intervention Programme (VIP) – with the aim of reducing morbidity and mortality from CVD and diabetes.
The VIP was first developed in the small municipality of Norsjö in 1985. Subsequently, it was successively implemented across the county and is now integrated into ordinary primary care routines. A population-based strategy directed towards the public is combined with a strategy to reach all middle-aged persons individually at ages 40, 50 and 60 years, by inviting them to participate in systematic risk factor screening and individual counselling about healthy lifestyle habits. Blood samples for research purposes are stored at the Umeå University Medical Biobank.
Overall, 113,203 health examinations have been conducted in the VIP and 6,500–7,000 examinations take place each year. Almost 27,000 subjects have participated twice. Participation rates have ranged between 48 and 67%. A dropout rate analysis in 1998 indicated only a small social selection bias. Cross-sectional, nested case-control studies and prospective studies have been based on the VIP data. Linkages between the VIP and local, regional and national databases provide opportunities for interdisciplinary research, as well as national and international collaborations on a wide range of disease outcomes. A large number of publications are based on data that are collected in the VIP, many of which also use results from analysed stored blood samples. More than 20 PhD theses have been based primarily on the VIP data.
The concept of the VIP, established as a collaboration between politicians and health care providers on the one hand and primary care, functioning as the operating machinery, and the public on the other, forms the basis for effective implementation and endurance over time. After more than 20 years of the VIP, there is a large comprehensive population-based database, a stable organisation to conduct health surveys and collect data, and a solid structure to enable widespread multidisciplinary and scientific collaborations.
prevention; community intervention; cardiovascular diseases; primary health care; health promotion; research methodology
There remains a lack of research on co-variation of multiple health outcomes and their socio-economic co-patterning, especially among the elderly. This papers aims to 1) examine the effects of different socio-economic factors on physical functioning and psychological well-being among older adults in a rural community in northern Vietnam; and 2) investigate the extent to which the two outcomes variables co-vary within individuals.
We analyzed the data from the WHO/INDEPTH study on global ageing and adult health conducted on 8535 people aged 50 years old and over in Bavi district of Vietnam in 2006. A multivariate response model was constructed to answer our research questions. The model treats the individual as a level two unit and the multiple measurements observed within an individual as a level one unit.
Lower physical functioning and psychological well-being were found in 1) women; 2) older people; 3) people with lower education level; 4) people who were currently single; 5) respondents from poorer household; and 6) mountainous dwellers compared to that in those of other category(ies) of the same variable. Socioeconomic factors accounted for about 24% and 7% of variation in physical functioning and psychological well-being scores, respectively. The adjusted correlation coefficient (0.35) indicates that physical functioning and psychological well-being did not strongly co-vary.
The present study shows that there exist problems of inequality in health among older adults in the study setting. This finding highlights the importance of analyzing multiple dimensions of health status simultaneously in inequality investigations.
The prevention and control of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases has not received due attention in many developing countries. This study aims to describe the epidemiology of high blood pressure among adults in Addis Ababa, so as to inform policy and lay the ground for surveillance interventions.
Addis Ababa is the largest urban centre and national capital of Ethiopia, hosting about 25% of the urban population in the country. A probabilistic sample of adult males and females, 25–64 years of age residing in Addis Ababa city participated in structured interviews and physical measurements. We employed a population based, cross sectional survey, using the World Health Organization instrument for stepwise surveillance (STEPS) of chronic disease risk factors. Data on selected socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle behaviours, including physical activity, as well as physical measurements such as weight, height, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure were collected through standardized procedures. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to estimate the coefficient of variability of blood pressure due to selected socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics, and physical measurements.
A total of 3713 adults participated in the study. About 20% of males and 38% of females were overweight (body-mass-index ≥ 25 kg/m2), with 10.8 (9.49, 12.11)% of the females being obese (body-mass-index ≥ 30 kg/m2). Similarly, 17% of the males and 31% of the females were classified as having low level of total physical activity. The age-adjusted prevalence (95% confidence interval) of high blood pressure, defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥ 140 mmHg (millimetres of mercury) or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥ 90 mmHg or reported use of anti-hypertensive medication, was 31.5% (29.0, 33.9) among males and 28.9% (26.8, 30.9) among females.
High blood pressure is widely prevalent in Addis Ababa and may represent a silent epidemic in this population. Overweight, obesity and physical inactivity are important determinants of high blood pressure. There is an urgent need for strategies and programmes to prevent and control high blood pressure, and promote healthy lifestyle behaviours primarily among the urban populations of Ethiopia.
During 1999–2000, great parts of Ethiopia experienced a period of famine which was recognised internationally. The aim of this paper is to characterise the epidemiology of mortality of the period, making use of individual, longitudinal population-based data from the Butajira demographic surveillance site and rainfall data from a local site.
Vital statistics and household data were routinely collected in a cluster sample of 10 sub-communities in the Butajira district in central Ethiopia. These were supplemented by rainfall and agricultural data from the national reporting systems.
Rainfall was high in 1998 and well below average in 1999 and 2000. In 1998, heavy rains continued from April into October, in 1999 the small rains failed and the big rains lasted into the harvesting period. For the years 1998–1999, the mortality rate was 24.5 per 1,000 person-years, compared with 10.2 in the remainder of the period 1997–2001. Mortality peaks reflect epidemics of malaria and diarrhoeal disease. During these peaks, mortality was significantly higher among the poorer.
The analyses reveal a serious humanitarian crisis with the Butajira population during 1998–1999, which met the CDC guideline crisis definition of more than one death per 10,000 per day. No substantial humanitarian relief efforts were triggered, though from the results it seems likely that the poorest in the farming communities are as vulnerable as the pastoralists in the North and East of Ethiopia. Food insecurity and reliance on subsistence agriculture continue to be major issues in this and similar rural communities. Epidemics of traditional infectious diseases can still be devastating, given opportunities in nutritionally challenged populations with little access to health care.
climate change; famine; mortality; demographic surveillance; epidemiology
Public health research characterising the course of life through the middle age in developing societies is scarce. The aim of this study is to explore patterns of adult (15–64 years) mortality in an Ethiopian population over time, by gender, urban or rural lifestyle, causes of death and in relation to household economic status and decision-making.
The study was conducted in Butajira Demographic Surveillance Site (DSS) in south-central Ethiopia among adults 15–64 years old. Cohort analysis of surveillance data was conducted for the years 1987–2004 complemented by a prospective case-referent (case control) study over two years.
Rate ratios were computed to assess the relationships between mortality and background variables using a Poisson regression model. In the case-referent component, odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) were used to assess the effect of certain risk factors that were not included in the surveillance system.
A total of 367 940 person years were observed in a period of 18 years, in which 2 860 deaths occurred. One hundred sixty two cases and 486 matched for age, sex and place of residence controls were included in the case referent (case control) study. Only a modest downward trend in adult mortality was seen over the 18 year period. Rural lifestyle carried a significant survival disadvantage [mortality rate ratio 1.62 (95% CI 1.44 to 1.82), adjusted for gender, period and age group], while the overall effects of gender were negligible. Communicable disease mortality was appreciably higher in rural areas [rate ratio 2.05 (95% CI 1.73 to 2.44), adjusted for gender, age group and period]. Higher mortality was associated with a lack of literacy in a household, poor economic status and lack of women's decision making.
A complex pattern of adult mortality prevails, still influenced by war, famine and communicable diseases. Individual factors such as a lack of education, low economic status and social disadvantage all contribute to increased risks of mortality.
We assessed the prevalence of substance use and its association with high blood pressure among adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
We employed a cross-sectional descriptive study design. The World Health Organization instrument for stepwise surveillance of risk factors for chronic diseases was applied on a probabilistic sample of 4001 men and women aged 25 to 64 years in Addis Ababa. We determined the prevalence of cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, and khat (Catha edulis Forsk) chewing. We measured blood pressure by using a digital device and determined mean levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and chewing khat were widely prevalent among men. Among men, the prevalence of current daily smoking was 11.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.5%–12.5%). Binge drinking of alcohol was reported by 10.4% (95% CI, 9.0%–11.9%) of men. Similarly, 15.9% (95% CI, 14.1%–17.6%) of men regularly chewed khat. Consequently, 26.6% of men and 2.4% of women reported practicing one or more of the behaviors. Current daily smoking and regular khat chewing were significantly associated with elevated mean diastolic blood pressure (β = 2.1, P = .03 and β = 1.9, P = .02, respectively).
Cigarette smoking and khat chewing among men in Addis Ababa were associated with high blood pressure, an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Health promotion interventions should aim to prevent proliferation of such behaviors among young people and adoption by women. Surveillance for risk factors for cardiovascular disease should be implemented nationwide to provide information for policy decisions and to guide prevention and control programs.
Public health interventions are directed towards social systems and it is difficult to foresee all consequences. While targeted outcomes may be positively influenced, interventions may at worst be counterproductive. To include self-reported health in an evaluation is one way of addressing possible side-effects. This study is based on a 10 year follow-up of a cardiovascular community intervention programme in northern Sweden.
Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to address the interaction between changes in self-rated health and risk factor load. Qualitative interviews contributed to an analysis of how the outcome was influenced by health related norms and attitudes.
Most people maintained a low risk factor load and a positive perception of health. However, more people improved than deteriorated their situation regarding both perceived health and risk factor load. "Ideal types" of attitude sets towards the programme, generated from the interviews, helped to interpret an observed polarisation for men and the lower educated.
Our observation of a socially and gender differentiated intervention effect suggests a need to test new intervention strategies. Future community interventions may benefit from targeting more directly those who in combination with high risk factor load perceive their health as bad and to make all participants feel seen, confirmed and involved.