Prevalence of risk factors for non-communicable diseases in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam: results from a STEPS survey

Pham, Luc H.; Au, Thuy B.; Blizzard, Leigh; Truong, Nhan B.; Schmidt, Michael D.; Granger, Robert H.; Dwyer, Terence
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p291
Academic Journal
Background: Despite the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Vietnam, information on the prevalence of preventable risk factors for NCD is restricted to the main urban centres of Ha Noi, and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). This population-based survey aimed to describe the prevalence of risk factors for NCD in a rural Vietnamese sample. Methods: This survey was conducted using the WHO "STEPwise approach to surveillance of non-communicable diseases" (STEPS) methodology. Participants (n = 1978) were residents of the Mekong Delta region selected by multi-stage sampling. Standardised international protocols were used to measure behavioural risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity), physical characteristics (weight, height, waist and hip circumferences, blood pressure - BP), fasting blood glucose (BG) and total cholesterol (TC). Data were analysed using complex survey analysis methods. Results: In this sample, 8.8% of men and 12.6% of women were overweight (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m²) and 2.3% of men and 1.5% of women were obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m²). The prevalence of hypertension (systolic BP ≥ 140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mmHg, or taking medication for hypertension) was 27.3% for men and 16.2% for women. There were 1.0% of men and 1.1% of women with raised BG (defined as capillary whole BG of at least 6.1 mmol/L). Conclusion: We provide the first NCD risk factor profile of people living in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam using standardised methodology. Our findings for this predominantly rural sample differ from previous studies conducted in Ha Noi and HCMC, and suggest that it is inappropriate to generalise findings from the big-city surveys to the other 80% of the population.


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