Impact of urbanisation and altitude on the incidence of, and risk factors for, hypertension

CRONICAS Cohort Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Most of the data regarding the burden of hypertension in low-income and middle-income countries comes from cross-sectional surveys instead of longitudinal studies. We estimated the incidence of, and risk factors for, hypertension in four study sites with different degree of urbanisation and altitude. Methods: Data from the CRONICAS Cohort Study, conducted in urban, semiurban and rural areas in Peru, was used. An age-stratified and sex-stratified random sample of participants was taken from the most updated census available in each site. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg, or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg, or self-report physician diagnosis and current treatment. The exposures were study site and altitude as well as modifiable risk factors. Incidence, incidence rate ratios (IRRs), 95% CIs and population-attributable fractions (PAFs) were estimated using generalised linear models. Results: Information from 3237 participants, mean age 55.8 (SD±12.7) years, 48.4% males, was analysed. Overall baseline prevalence of hypertension was 19.7% (95% CI 18.4% to 21.1%). A total of 375 new cases of hypertension were recorded, including 5266 person-years of follow-up, with an incidence of 7.12 (95% CI 6.44 to 7.88) per 100 person-years. Individuals from semiurban site were at higher risk of hypertension compared with highly urbanised areas (IRR=1.76; 95% CI 1.39 to 2.23); however, those from high-altitude sites had a reduced risk (IRR=0.74; 95% CI 0.58 to 0.95). Obesity was the leading risk factor for hypertension with a great variation according to study site with PAF ranging from 12.5% to 42.4%. Conclusions: Our results suggest heterogeneity in the progression towards hypertension depending on urbanisation and site altitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-833
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


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