Article abstract

Introduction: hypertension is a longstanding problem in Zambia, yet little is known about its prevalence and risk factors, particularly in rural and urban settings. Identifying geographical variations in hypertension is important to enhance the health of adult Zambians regardless of where they live. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of hypertension and related risk factors between rural (n = 130) and urban (n = 131) communities in Western Province, Zambia.


Methods: this cross-sectional study included urban and rural adult Zambians attending health checks who completed a modified World Health Organization (WHO) survey, and had blood pressure and anthropometric measurements completed. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize demographic and risk factor variables. Chi-square tests of association were used to analyze relationships between categorical variables, t-tests to analyze relationships between continuous variables and logistic regression to examine associations of hypertension with selected risk factors.


Results: the prevalence of hypertension in rural Zambians was double (46.9%) that of urban Zambians (22.9%). Increasing age, not engaging in walking/biking, and alcohol intake within the last 30 days were associated with an increased likelihood of hypertension in rural Zambians while eating vegetables more days during the week was associated with a decreased likelihood of hypertension in rural Zambians. Body Mass Index (BMI) was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of hypertension in urban Zambians.


Conclusion: modifiable risk factors (such as BMI, dietary intake, and physical activity) are associated with hypertension prevalence in this population, indicating opportunities for screening and other prevention measures.