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Blood pressure and lifestyle in UK African-Caribbeans

Hylton, P, (1997). Blood pressure and lifestyle in UK African-Caribbeans. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Mortality statistics for the 1970s to 1980s have shown adult African-Caribbeans to be the highest risk group for hypertension and its most common outcome, stroke. The Department of Health has acknowledged hypertension in Affican-Canbbeans to be an important sub priority area in the Health o f the Nation's systolic blood pressure reduction programme. To date, there has been very little researched aetiological data on blood pressure in this ethnic group. The significance of lifestyle related factors to hypertension within the general population, has been accepted by The Health o f the Nation. These include diet, exercise, alcohol and smoking habits, obesity (body mass index), as-well-as socio-economic conditions. Health behaviour modifications are judged to offer an effective non-pharmacologic approach towards the prevention and management of hypertension. This study carried out 1994-1997, examined the association between systolic blood pressure and a number of lifestyle factors in a workforce group of 164 African-Caribbeans -138 women and 26 men.

Design: Information about lifestyle habits, and other related factors was collected from a survey, through face-to-face interviews, by a single observer, using pre-designed structured questionnaires. Blood pressure, heart rate, height, and weight were measured and recorded by the same (single), observer. Up to six repeated measurements and progress reports for subsets of the study group were done. Multivariate linear regression analysis was used to develop prediction models at significance levels of <0.05.

Results: Age related rise in blood pressure was evident, and age had the strongest independent linear relationship with systolic blood pressure (Pearson’s r = 0.43). The most significant (positive) lifestyle factor was body mass index by group (Spearman’s r = 0.26). Negative associations were found with alcohol and smoking habits. No association was found with levels of physical activity Unexpectedly a negative association was found with adding salt, (Spearman’s r = -0.23), but no association was found with dietary habits in general. Subjects who were least educated and had the lowest job grades were more predisposed to high blood pressure. Apart from brother’s blood pressure history, familial hypertension was not evident. Negative associations were found with factors relating to racism. UK-bom subjects generally recorded significantly lower blood pressures than their (usually older) non UK-bom African-Caribbeans colleagues, but this difference was marginalised with age adjusted analysis.

Conclusion: Apart from body mass index, lifestyle and other psycho-socio-economic factors examined generally did not contribute to high blood pressure in the subjects Some significance was found in the ‘wrong direction’, that is, negative when positive was anticipated. There was no indication that lifestyle related factors were of any greater significance to the blood pressure values of African-Caribbeans than has been reported for the general population. Findings reflected those reported by the OPCS for the general population. However, there is an urgent need for much more research in the area.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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