Author(s): Bunker CH, Ukoli FA, Matthews KA, Kriska AM, Huston SL,
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Abstract Hypertension is virtually absent in very lean rural African populations but is becoming more common in higher-weight urban African populations and is very common in predominantly obese Westernized black populations. This implies that there is a threshold above which weight is related to blood pressure. We studied urban Nigerian civil servants, a lean population in transition toward a more Westernized lifestyle. Blood pressure, fat-related measurements, fasting insulin, physical activity, alcohol intake, macronutrient intake, and electrolyte excretion were measured in 500 male and 299 female civil servants in Benin City, Nigeria, in 1992. Median body mass index (BMI) was 21.5 kg/m2 in men and 24.0 kg/m2 in women. Examination of age-adjusted mean blood pressure across quantiles of BMI in men and women suggested a threshold of 21.5 kg/m2 below which blood pressure was not correlated with BMI. Above this threshold blood pressure was correlated with BMI. Comparison of groups above and below the lower BMI threshold found that differences in blood pressure-BMI covariation were not explained by differences in alcohol intake, caloric or macronutrient intake, or electrolyte excretion. Physical activity was higher in men below the threshold. Fasting insulin and waist-hip ratio were strongly correlated with BMI even in this very lean population but neither was independently related to blood pressure. We conclude that there is a threshold below which little relationship between blood pressure and weight is observed. Above this threshold even at levels considered lean in US blacks, weight is a major determinant of blood pressure in this population of African blacks, which shares ancestry with US blacks.
This article was published in Hypertension
and referenced in Bioenergetics: Open Access