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Richer, wiser and in better health? The socioeconomic gradient in hypertension prevalence, unawareness and control in South Africa

Ranjeeta Thomas (), Ronelle Burger and Katharina Hauck ()

Social Science & Medicine, 2018, vol. 217, issue C, 18-30

Abstract: The socioeconomic gradient in chronic conditions is clear in the poorest and wealthiest of countries, but extant evidence on this relationship in low- and middle-income countries is inconclusive. We use data gathered between 2008 and 2012 from a nationally representative sample of over 10,000 South African adults, and objective health measures to analyse the differential effects of education, income and other factors on the prevalence of hypertension, individuals' awareness and control of hypertensive status. Prevalence of hypertension is high at 38% among women and 34% among men. 59% of hypertensive individuals are unaware of their status. We find prevalence and unawareness of hypertension are a public health concern across all income groups in South Africa. Higher income is however associated with effective control amongst men. Completing secondary education is associated with 7 mmHg lower blood pressure only in a small sub-group of women but is associated with 22 percentage point higher likelihood of effective hypertension control amongst women. We conclude that poorer and less educated individuals are particularly at high risk of cardiovascular disease in South Africa.

Keywords: South Africa; Hypertension; Socioeconomic gradient; Unawareness; Control (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.09.038

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