Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence of Hypertension in Colombia: Association With Education Level Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract BACKGROUND A higher prevalence of hypertension is reported among Afro-descendants compared with other ethnic groups in high-income countries; however, there is a paucity of information in low- and medium-income countries. METHODS We evaluated 3,745 adults from 3 ethnic groups (552 White, 2,746 Mestizos, 447 Afro-descendants) enrolled in the prospective population-based cohort study (PURE)—Colombia. We assessed associations between anthropometric, socioeconomic, behavioral factors, and hypertension. RESULTS The overall prevalence of hypertension was 39.2% and was higher in Afro-descendants (46.3%) than in Mestizos (37.6%) and Whites (41.5%), differences that were due to the higher prevalence in Afro-descendant women. Hypertension was associated with older age, increased body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, independent of ethnicity. Low education was associated with hypertension in all ethnic groups, and particularly in Afro-descendants, for whom it was the factor with the strongest association with prevalence. Notably, 70% of Afro-descendants had a low level of education, compared with 52% of Whites—26% of Whites were university graduates while only 7% of Afro-descendants were. We did not find that education level alone had a mediator effect, suggesting that it is not a causal risk factor for hypertension but is an indicator of socioeconomic status, itself an important determinant of hypertension prevalence. CONCLUSIONS We found that a higher prevalence of hypertension in Colombian Afro-descendants than other ethnic groups. This was principally associated with their lower mean educational level, an indicator of lower socioeconomic status.


  • Lopez-Lopez, Jose P
  • Cohen, Daniel D
  • Alarcon-Ariza, Natalia
  • Mogollon-Zehr, Margarita
  • Ney-Salazar, Daniela
  • Chacon-Manosalva, Maria A
  • Martinez-Bello, Daniel
  • Otero, Johanna
  • Castillo-Lopez, Gabriela
  • Perez-Mayorga, Maritza
  • Rangarajan, Sumathy
  • Yusuf, Salim
  • Lopez-Jaramillo, Patricio

publication date

  • July 1, 2022