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.
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.
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.
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.