PREVALENCE AND LIFESTYLE DETERMINANTS OF HYPERTENSION AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL FEMALE TEACHERS IN BASRAH
The Medical Journal of Basrah University,
2009, Volume 27, Issue 2, Pages 90-94
Background: Hypertension is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the world and it is increasing particularly
in developing countries (including Iraq). A number of factors increase blood pressure, including: obesity, insulin
resistance, high alcohol intake, high salt intake (in salt-sensitive patients), aging, sedentary lifestyle, stress, low
potassium intake, and low calcium intake, furthermore, many of these factors are additive, such as obesity and
Objectives: This study was conducted with the aim of determining the prevalence of hypertension among secondary
school female teachers and identifying lifestyle related risk factors.
Subjects and methods: A sample of 16 schools (25%) of female secondary schools in Basrah city was chosen
randomly. All the female teachers present in the schools at the time of the visits were interviewed according to a
special questionnaire. Height, weight and blood pressure were measured. The whole sample size was 403 participants;
the only excluded criterion was pregnancy. The number of those who were excluded was five teachers.
Results: The prevalence of hypertension among the study population was 21.3%, and about one fifth of them
(20.3%) were prehypertensive. The prevalence of lifestyle risk factors among the study population was as follows;
physical inactivity (67.٧%), overweight (40.9%), obesity (37.7%), contraceptive pills use (18.6%), salty diet
(18.1%), fatty diet (15.4%), drugs intake (mostly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) (12.4%), coffee intake
(6.5%), and smoking (0.5%). A significant association was found between some lifestyle risk factors and
hypertension, those were: drug intake, and body mass index, while no significant association was found between other
risk factors and hypertension which were: fatty diet, physical activity, coffee intake and, contraceptive pills intake.
Conclusions: The prevalence of hypertension was within the range of that reported for women in Iraq. There was a
significant proportion of participants with unidentified hypertension, and a significant association was found between
certain lifestyle risk factors and hypertension. Early detection of hypertension and educational health programs
regarding lifestyle behavior were highly recommended.
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