Almost 34% of people living in the urban area of Rangpur are suffering from hypertension – the highest among four key cities, the others being Narayanganj, Cumilla, and Mymensingh, a study revealed Thursday.
The prevalence of the non-communicable disease is the lowest (16%) in Cumilla.
The study was conducted under the "Strengthening Urban Public Health System Project" – supported by Save the Children and the South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network Bangladesh with assistance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of people having hypertension in the four cities is 23% on average, according to the study report presented during a seminar at a hotel in the capital.
Titled Hypertension and Obesity Load in Bangladesh: How Large is the Iceberg, the report concluded that the prevalence of hypertension is higher (30%) among those who have a family history of hypertension, and slightly higher (26%) among those intaking salt with meals.
A total of 48,644 participants were screened to measure their blood pressure, height, and weight to calculate hypertension status and Body Mass Index status for the study.
As per the study findings, the prevalence of hypertension is also higher among men (24%) than women (22%). At the same time, 14% of the people are also at higher risk of being hypertensive.
Among the campaign participants, the overall prevalence of obesity was 8%, while almost 28% of participants were overweight. Obesity was found higher among female participants (10%) compared to male participants (7%).
Those identified as obese are more likely to be hypertensive than those who are not, the study said, adding that the prevalence of obesity is also higher among those engaged in desk-based jobs or businesses.
"We have a wonderful system of the non-communicable disease service in the rural territory of Bangladesh. But, in the case of urban areas, we could not take proper steps," Professor Dr Robed Amin, line director for non-communicable disease control at the Directorate General Health Services, said while addressing the seminar.
"Urban healthcare services are delivered by the local governments. Their priorities are environment, water supply, vector-borne diseases, vaccine issues and infectious diseases. There is no service for non-communicable diseases."
Dr Robed Amin further said, "However, the good news is that we have developed an urban health policy. It was published in 2021. Now, the health ministry and the local government ministry may work together for urban healthcare services [for non-communicable diseases]."