High prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in Durban South African Indians : the Phoenix Lifestyle Project

Prakaschandra, Dorcas Rosaley ; Esterhuizen, Tonya M. ; Motala, Ayesha A. ; Gathiram, Prem ; Naidoo, Datshana Prakesh (2016-02)

CITATION: Prakaschandra, D.R. et al. 2016. High prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in Durban South African Indians: the Phoenix Lifestyle Project. South African Medical Journal, 106(3):284-289, doi:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i3.9837.

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za


Background. Previous studies show a high prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors in South African (SA) Asian Indians, with the emergence of premature coronary artery disease in young Indian subjects. Objective. To determine the prevalence of CV risk factors in this population. Methods. This was a cross-sectional study of randomly selected adults aged 15 - 64 years from the suburb of Phoenix in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province, SA. All participants had demographic, anthropometric and biochemical measurements using the modified World Health Organization (WHO) STEPwise survey methods. Hypertension, obesity, lipid abnormalities and diabetes mellitus (DM) were diagnosed using WHO criteria. Age-standardised frequencies for glycaemic indices were calculated according to the WHO standard world population distribution. Results. Of the 1 428 subjects who responded (response rate 72.1%), complete data for analysis were available on 1 378 (1 001 women). The mean age was 45.5 (standard deviation 13) years. There were high prevalences of hypertension (47.5%), DM (20.1%), total body obesity (raised body mass index) (32.4%) and increased waist circumference (73.1%). The ‘thin-fat’ Asian phenotype (isolated abdominal obesity) was found in only 4.8% of participants. High prevalences of total body obesity (32.1%), increased waist circumference (31.3%) and insulin resistance (28.2%) were documented in the youngest age group. Over half of the males and 14.6% of females were current smokers. Diabetic dyslipidaemia was found in 61 subjects (4.4%). In multivariate analysis, age, triglycerides and waist circumference measurement were significant independent risk factors associated with DM and, together with fasting glucose, also predicted hypertension. Conclusion. Compared with Asian Indian subjects with similar environmental exposure in previous studies, the magnitude of change in risk factor prevalence over the past two decades has been of epidemic proportions.

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