Risk profile for chronic diseases of life-style in older black South Africans. The BRISK Study

  • Maya Patel Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, South Africa
  • Krisela Steyn Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, South Africa
  • Karen Charlton Nutrition and Dietetics Unit, University of Cape Town
  • Lesley Bourne Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, South Africa
  • Ria Laubscher Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, South Africa
  • Jean Fourie Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, South Africa
  • Pieter Jooste Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, South Africa

Abstract

This paper describes the risk-factor profile for chronic diseases of life-style in the older black population of Cape Town and compares it with risk profiles in other South African ethnic groups. A hundred and sixty-eight men and women aged 60 years and over from formerly designated black areas of Cape Town were sampled in 1990. Laboratory diagnosis of hyperlipidaemia and clinical measurements of blood pressure and body mass index were carried out and reported incidences of smoking and dietary intake were recorded. A low risk profile was found in the sample: Total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC) levels were low and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol/total cholesterol (HDLC/TC) ratios high, with approximately 90% of the sample having protective ratios > 20%. Hypertension was found in 25.7% of men and 48.7% of women. Of the hypertensives, only 53.5% were on anti-hypertensive medication. A high prevalence of obesity was found in the women (51.3%). Smoking rates were 47.3% in men and 28.3% in women. Dietary information showed that the group consumed an essentially prudent diet. Men had higher cholesterol intakes (300mg) than women (I75mg), while women consumed significantly more carbohydrates as a source of energy than men (p 0.05). It is concluded that the study population is at lower risk for chronic diseases of life-style than other ethnic groups in South Africa, but it is uncertain whether the low rates will continue in future generations.

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Published
2000-04-01