The prevalence of obesity and its related complications are on the increase in the industrialized as well as developing nations. This study assesses prevalence of hypertension, the influence of body weight on blood pressure variation and the relationship between obesity and hypertension in Yaoundé. A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in 5 757 participants (61.6% females; mean age 33.7 ± 10.3 years old and 38.4% males; mean age 33.0 ± 11.5 years old) participated in health campaign program. Weight classification was done according to WHO criteria as 18.5 >BMI ≤ 24.9 (normal); 25 ≤ BMI ≤ 29.9 (overweight) and BMI ≥ 30 (obese). High blood pressure was recorded following both the National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III) and World Health Organization criteria. Out of the 5757 participants, 34.5% were normal weight, 31.7% were overweight and 33.8% were obese individuals. Using the NCEP and WHO criteria respectively, diastolic high blood pressure was observed in 43% and 32.8% of participants. A positive correlation was found between BMI and both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. This study showed that there was a strong association of BMI with blood pressure and a high prevalence of diastolic hypertension among obese participants. The present result underpins the need for a consistent national emphasis on prevention and control of hypertension and obesity in younger adults.
Key words: Hypertension, body mass index, blood pressure.
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