Background Evidence suggests that prehypertension is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. Little is known about ethnic differences in prehypertension in Europe. We aimed to assess these ethnic differences and to determine the factors associated with prehypertension in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Design Cross-sectional study.
Methods Prehypertension was defined as having a blood pressure 120-139/80-89 mmHg.
Results The overall prevalence of prehypertension was 32.8% (men 37.9% and women 29.9%). The prevalence of prehypertension did not differ between the ethnic groups in men. African Surinamese and Hindustani Surinamese women, however, had a higher prevalence of prehypertension than White Dutch women. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, the odds ratios [95% confidence interval] for being prehypertensive were 2.25 (1.38-3.67; P < 0.001) for African Surinamese and 2.06 (1.18-3.60; P < 0.01) for Hindustani Surinamese women, compared with White Dutch women. BMI was strongly associated with prehypertension in both men and women. Total cholesterol was positively associated with prehypertension in women, whereas increased physical activity was negatively associated. The independent factors associated with prehypertension vary by ethnic group. In men, BMI was associated with prehypertension in the White Dutch, total cholesterol and low education in the African Surinamese, and fasting glucose in the Hindustani Surinamese. In women, total cholesterol was associated with prehypertension in the African Surinamese; the corresponding factor was the BMI in the Hindustani Surinamese.
Conclusion Prehypertension is common in minority women. As a large proportion of people with prehypertension progress to clinical hypertension, targeting these people early with lifestyle-modification interventions aimed at weight loss, increased physical activity, and healthy dietary habits can provide important long-term benefits. The results indicate that the primary foci of such lifestyle interventions should vary between ethnic groups. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil 14: 775-781 © 2007 The European Society of Cardiology