Changes in ideal cardiovascular health among Malawian adults from 2009 to 2017

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Ngwasiri, Calypse
Samadoulougou, Sekou
Cissé, Kadari
Aminde, Leopold
Kirakoya-Samadoulougou, Fati
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Ideal Cardiovascular Health (CVH) is a concept defined by the American Heart Association (AHA) as part of its 2020 Impact Goals. Until now, changes in ideal CVH have been poorly evaluated in Sub-Saharan African populations. We aimed to investigate changes in the prevalence of ideal CVH and its components in a population of Malawian adults. Secondary analysis was done on cross-sectional data from 2009 to 2017, obtained from the Malawi STEPS surveys which included 5730 participants aged 25-64 years. CVH metrics categorized into "ideal (6-7 ideal metrics)", "intermediate (3-5 ideal metrics)" and "poor (0-2 ideal metrics)" were computed using blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), fasting glycaemia, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, smoking, and total cholesterol. Sampling weights were used to account for the sampling design, and all estimates were standardised by age and sex using the direct method. The mean participant age across both periods was 40.1 ± 12.4 years. The prevalence of meeting ≥ 6 ideal CVH metrics increased substantially from 9.4% in 2009 to 33.3% in 2017, whereas having ≤ 2 ideal CVH metrics decreased from 7.6% to 0.5% over this time. For the individual metrics, desirable levels of smoking, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, blood pressure (BP), total cholesterol and fasting glucose all increased during the study period whilst achievable levels of BMI (< 25 kg/m2) declined. From 2009 to 2017, the mean number of ideal CVH metrics was higher in women compared to men (from 2.1% to 5.1% vs 2.0% to 5.0%). However, poor levels of smoking and fruit and vegetable intake were higher in men compared to women (from 27.9% to 23.6% vs. 7.4%% to 1.9% , and from 33.7% to 42.9% vs 30.8% to 34.6%, respectively). Also, whilst achievable levels of BMI rose in men (from 84.4% to 86.2%) the proportion reduced in women (from 72.1% to 67.5% ). Overall, CVH improved in Malawian adults from 2009 to 2017 and was highest in women. However, the prevalence of poor fruit and vegetable intake, and poor smoking remained high in men whilst optimal levels of BMI was declined in women. To improve this situation, individual and population-based strategies that address body mass, smoking and fruit and vegetable intake are warranted for maximal health gains in stemming the development of cardiovascular events.

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Scientific Reports

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© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

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Cardiology (incl. cardiovascular diseases)


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Ngwasiri, C; Samadoulougou, S; Cissé, K; Aminde, L; Kirakoya-Samadoulougou, F, Changes in ideal cardiovascular health among Malawian adults from 2009 to 2017, Scientific Reports, 2022, 12, pp. 21937