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Hypertension, obesity, and diabetes in Malawi

Recent research in Malawi investigated the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, overweight and obesity, and multimorbidity (two or more of the listed conditions excluding overweight) in almost 29,000 adults residing in rural Karonga District and Lilongwe city. Along with an exploration of associated risk factors, the study also examined participants’ access to diagnosis and treatment for diabetes and hypertension.

The findings estimated that the prevalence of diabetes was 5.4% and 2.1% in urban and rural Malawi, respectively. It also revealed a steep increase in hypertension prevalence with age. Overweight and obesity were notably higher in urban dwellers compared to rural residents, and more women than men were overweight and obese (35% and 13%, respectively). Multimorbidity, the most common combination being hypertension and obesity (except for rural men), peaked in the 60-69 year old age group. The findings also highlighted that many participants had undetected disease: 41% of diabetic cases and 58% of hypertensive cases were undiagnosed. For more detailed information about this study, read more here.

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