Introduction About 80% of deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCD) occur in developing countries and behavioural risk factors that underlie the burden of major NCD are on the rise in SSA. However, most research and development work has focused on communicable diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS while neglecting NCD. This study aims to contribute to the state of knowledge on the prevalence of modifiable risk factors for NCD specifically cardiovascular diseases in the adult population of two slums in Nairobi, Kenya.
Methods A cross-sectional survey among 5190 adults selected by stratified random sampling in two Nairobi slums covered. Data were collected on behavioural risk factors for cardiovascular diseases including self-reported tobacco and alcohol use, dietary habits and physical activity.
Results About 19% of respondents had ever used tobacco, and 12% were current users. Males were 20 times more likely to be current tobacco users than females. Majority of respondents (85%) reported sufficient physical activity though large sex differences were observed. Females were three times more likely to be inactive than males. Less than half of respondents consumed sufficient fruits and vegetables while a little over a third had high salt consumption. Ten percent of respondents were current alcohol users of which, more than a third were frequent heavy drinkers.
Conclusion We found high levels of behavioural risk factors for NCD, specifically high alcohol and tobacco use and poor dietary habits albeit with marked gender differentials. Targeted intervention programmes that promote healthy lifestyles among the urban poor are recommended.
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