Investigating the Prevalence and Risk Factors for Hypertension, Diabetes and Obesity among Lecturers and Support Staff of Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara, Uganda

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors among teaching and non-teaching staff of Bishop Stuart University of Mbarara-Uganda for hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
Context: Among the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) affecting the developed and developing world are diabetes, hypertension and obesity. These disorders are mostly correlated with older age groups, but data suggests that between 30 and 69 years of age, 15 million of all deaths due to NCDs occur. Recognizing the recent inclusion in the health policy agenda of Uganda of hypertension and diabetes, this study was conducted among university workers in rural areas to provide benchmark information for the design of effective interventions.
Research Design: This was a cross-sectional, institutional-based, descriptive survey design. Location and length of the study: This study was performed between the teaching staff and none of the teaching staff of Mbarara University, Uganda, from 18 April to 6 June 2017.
Methodology: A systematic questionnaire was used to collect data from university staff at their workstations on social demographics and risk factors. Each participant’s blood pressure was assessed, and systolic BP>140 and/or diastolic (BP) >90 mmHg was described as hypertension. To assess weight levels, anthropometric measurements (Body Mass Index (BMI) were carried out by weight in Kg) and by height in (M2). Obesity was measured at a BMI of >40. A diabetic level of random blood sugar (RBS) > 200 mg/dl was considered. Epi-info version 7, analysed using SPSS version 19, was used to enter data.
Results: A total of 156 university workers aged 25-75 years of both sexes were interviewed, with a mean age of 42±8 years, of whom 51% were males. About 15% were administrative workers, 55% were teaching employees, 3% were senior lecturers and professors, and 25% were non-teaching employees. The prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and obesity is 7.7%, 16%, and 28%, respectively. But most (60.2%) were also found to be at risk of developing both hypertension and diabetes. Less than 20% of the participants were knowledgeable on causes, signs and symptoms and preventive measures for Hypertension but had moderate knowledgeable of the risk factors, the most frequently mentioned risk by 71% was lack of exercise. Despite the understanding of risk factors, most (61.3%) did not conduct any sort of exercise and 64.1% did not have daily blood pressure tests.A statistically relevant association between those over 40 years of age and hypertension (X2=5.82, P=0.015, OR= 4.2) was also seen in the study. The risk of diabetes has also risen with age. Compared to those less than 40 years of age, lecturers aged 40 years and over were 5.6 times more likely to have diabetes (OR= 5.6, X2=16, P=0.0005) . More than a third of the applicants. 57/156 (36.5 percent) among their family members reported a history of HPT. 49 percent and 34 percent, p<0.01). In senior administrative workers and lecturers, the incidence of obesity and overweight was found higher than in lower system staff.
Conclusion: Hypertension, diabetes and obesity are prevalent conditions among BSU teaching and teaching personnel, but there is insufficient knowledge of risk factors, clinical presentation and preventive strategies. Public health measures recommended for monitoring by university workers are routine physical exercises, frequent body tests and regulated diet. Therefore this study indicates that university workers need high-level awareness campaigns about non-communicable diseases and the need for daily health check-ups.

Author(s) Details

Jordan Amanyire
Department of Public Health, Bishop Stuart University, P.O.Box 9 Mbarara, Uganda.

Mathias Tumwebaze
Department of Public Health, Bishop Stuart University, P.O.Box 9 Mbarara, Uganda.

Mauda Kamatenesi Mugisha
Department of Public Health, Bishop Stuart University, P.O.Box 9 Mbarara, Uganda.

Labani Waswa Bright
Medical Research Council (MRC) P.O.Box 48 Entebbe, Uganda.

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