Rural to urban migration and changes in cardiovascular risk factors in Tanzania: a prospective cohort studyReport as inadecuate

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BMC Public Health

, 10:272

First Online: 24 May 2010Received: 26 February 2010Accepted: 24 May 2010DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-10-272

Cite this article as: Unwin, N., James, P., McLarty, D. et al. BMC Public Health 2010 10: 272. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-10-272


BackgroundHigh levels of rural to urban migration are a feature of most African countries. Our aim was to investigate changes, and their determinants, in cardiovascular risk factors on rural to urban migration in Tanzania.

MethodsMen and women 15 to 59 years intending to migrate from Morogoro rural region to Dar es Salaam for at least 6 months were identified. Measurements were made at least one week but no more than one month prior to migration, and 1 to 3 monthly after migration. Outcome measures included body mass index, blood pressure, fasting lipids, and self reported physical activity and diet.

ResultsOne hundred and three men, 106 women, mean age 29 years, were recruited and 132 63.2% followed to 12 months. All the figures presented here refer to the difference between baseline and 12 months in these 132 individuals. Vigorous physical activity declined 79.4% to 26.5% in men, 37.8% to 15.6% in women, p < 0.001, and weight increased 2.30 kg men, 2.35 kg women, p < 0.001. Intake of red meat increased, but so did the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. HDL cholesterol increased in men and women 0.24, 0.25 mmoll respectively, p < 0.001; and in men, not women, total cholesterol increased 0.42 mmoll, p = 0.01, and triglycerides fell 0.31 mmoll, p = 0.034. Blood pressure appeared to fall in both men and women. For example, in men systolic blood pressure fell by 5.4 mmHg, p = 0.007, and in women by 8.6 mmHg, p = 0.001.

ConclusionThe lower level of physical activity and increasing weight will increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, changes in diet were mixed, and may have contributed to mixed changes in lipid profiles and a lack of rise in blood pressure. A better understanding of the changes occurring on rural to urban migration is needed to guide preventive measures.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-10-272 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Nigel Unwin - Peter James - Dorothy McLarty - Harun Machybia - Peter Nkulila - Bushiri Tamin - Mkay Nguluma - Richard McNa


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