OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the distribution of hypertension, its nutritional and other determinants and their association in Croatia.
DESIGN: Population-based, cross-sectional study.
SUBJECTS: Representative random sample of 9070 adults (18 years and older) from all Croatian regions, selected using multistage sampling.
RESULTS: Overall prevalence of hypertension (arterial blood pressure >or=140/90 mmHg) in Croatia was 45.5 %, of which 40 % were newly diagnosed hypertensives. There was no difference in the percentage of hypertensives between the continental and Mediterranean parts of Croatia. Newly diagnosed hypertension was found to be positively associated with increased BMI, age and alcohol consumption in the total sample and with moderate consumption of coffee in women, as well as inversely associated with regular consumption of fruits and vegetables in the total sample and high consumption of coffee in the total sample and in men. No association with newly diagnosed hypertension was recorded for use of animal fat, consumption of whole milk, smoked meat products, for adding salt, smoking and leisure-time physical activity.
CONCLUSIONS: Hypertension is a major public health problem in both continental and Mediterranean parts of Croatia. Maintenance of normal body mass, its reduction if already increased, and regular consumption of fruits and vegetables are proposed as priorities for primary prevention of hypertension in Croatia.
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