Blood pressure and lifestyle on Saba, Netherlands Antilles

Laura E. Soloway, Ellen W. Demerath, Natalie Ochs, Gary D. James, Michael A. Little, James R. Bindon, Ralph M. Garruto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


During the 20th century, infectious disease morbidity and mortality generally waned whereas chronic degenerative diseases posed a growing burden at the global level. The population on Saba, Netherlands Antilles has recently experienced such an epidemiologic transition, and hypertension was reported to be extraordinarily high, although no prevalences have been reported and relationships with lifestyle factors associated with rapid modernization have not been explored. In this study, a medical and demographic questionnaires, as well as body composition and blood pressure measures were collected from 278 Saban men and women aged 18-91 years. When age and sex adjusted, 48% of the population was hypertensive. Age, BMI, and Afro-Caribbean descent were all associated with higher blood pressures. In a second phase, 124 individuals of the 278 were invited to receive a longer questionnaire on individual exposure to modernizing influences such as travel and education. Higher blood pressure was associated with having lived in fewer different places in the past; those who stayed only on Saba or Statia had higher blood pressures than those who had also lived in more modernized areas. However, this was no longer statistically significant after adjustment for age and BMI. Lifestyle incongruity was positively associated with higher blood pressure in that those with more discord between material wealth and income were more likely to be hypertensive, and this remained statistically significant after adjustment for age and adiposity. In summary, hypertension is highly prevalent on Saba and tended to be associated with greater age, adiposity, Afro-Caribbean ancestry, and lifestyle incongruity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-325
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

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