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Ten-year change in blood pressure levels and prevalence of hypertension in urban and rural Cameroon
  1. L Fezeu1,2,3,
  2. A P Kengne3,4,
  3. B Balkau1,2,
  4. P K Awah3,
  5. J C Mbanya3
  1. 1INSERM U780-IFR69, Epidemiological and Biostatistical Research, Villejuif Cedex, France
  2. 2University Paris-Sud, Orsay, France
  3. 3Health of Population in Transition Research Group, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  4. 4George Institute for International Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to AP Kengne, George Institute for International Health, Level 10, KGV Building, Missenden Road, Camperdown, 2050 NSW, Australia; apkengne{at}


Background Hypertension is becoming increasingly important in sub-Saharan Africa. However, evidences in support of this trend with time are still not available. The aim of this study was to evaluate the 10-year change in blood pressure levels and prevalence of hypertension in rural and urban Cameroon.

Methods Two cross-sectional population-based surveys in Yaounde (urban area) and Evodoula (rural area) in 1994 (1762 subjects) and 2003 (1398 subjects) used similar methodologies in women and men aged ≥24 years. Data on systolic and diastolic blood pressures (SBP and DBP), body mass index, educational level, alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking were collected during the two periods.

Results Between 1994 and 2003, blood pressure levels significantly increased in rural women (SBP, +18.2 mm Hg; DBP, +11.9 mm Hg) and men (SBP, +18.8 mm Hg; DBP, +11.6 mm Hg), all p<0.001. In the urban area, SBP increased in women (+8.1 mm Hg, p<0.001) and men (+6.5 mm Hg, p<0.001), and DBP increased only in women (+3.3 mm Hg, p<0.001). The OR (95% CI) adjusted on confounders comparing the prevalence of hypertension (blood pressure≥140/90 mm Hg and/or treatment) between 2003 and 1994 ranged from 1.5 (1.1 to 2.2) in urban men to 5.3 (3.2 to 8.9) in rural men.

Conclusion Blood pressure levels of this population have deteriorated over time, and the prevalence of hypertension has increased by twofold to fivefold. Adverse effects of risk factors could account for some of these changes. Prevention and control programmes are needed to reverse these trends and to avoid the looming complications.

  • Hypertension
  • blood pressure
  • trends
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • Cameroon

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  • Funding European Union for the 1994 survey and the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD) through Aire Developpement for 2003 surveys. The funding bodies were not involved in the study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation or writing of the article. They had no control or influence over the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interest None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Cameroon.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.