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Sex differences in prevalence and risk factors of hypertension in India: Evidence from the National Family Health Survey-4
Authors: Krishna Kumar, Sheuli Misra
Source: PLOS ONE , Volume 16, no. 4; DOI:
Topic(s): Hypertension
Spatial analysis
Country: Asia
Published: APR 2021
Abstract: To estimate sex-specific prevalence and associated socio-economic, demographic, and lifestyle risk factors of hypertension in India. We used data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) of 2015–16. The analysis based on 6,99,686 women (15–49 years) and 1,12,122 men (15–54 years) whose blood pressure (BP) were measured during the survey. Bivariate distribution was used to show the prevalence of hypertension and, maps were used to present its spatial patterns. Logistic regression model was used to identify sex-specific association between risk factors and hypertension. Results show that the overall prevalence of hypertension was 16.32% among men and 11.56% among women. We also found that the prevalence of hypertension across selected socio-economic, demographic and lifestyle background characteristics and in a majority of the states was higher among men compared to women. Odds ratios from logistic regression analysis direct sex-related differences in risk factors. Hypertension increases with an increase in age and the risk is higher among older women (AOR, 5.58; 95% CI, 5.16–6.03 for women aged 40–49 and AOR, 4.24; 95% CI, 3.94–4.57 for men aged 50–54) compared to men. Education, types of jobs (specially technical, administrative and managerial), marital status and non-vegetarian diet were significantly associated with hypertension in men. While other than age; non-working, consumption of alcohol, and being a diabetic was found to be major risk factors for this disease among women. There are sex-related differences in prevalence as well as risk factors of hypertension in India. In order to prevent early developments of hypertension, awareness related to changing lifestyles such as a diet rich in fruits, vegetables as well as screening to control BP should be promoted among youths and adults in India. The study also recommends sex-specific approaches in health infrastructure and policies besides increasing public awareness.