Research

Risk of cardiovascular disease among teachers in Cape Town: Findings of the South African PaCT pilot study

E C Laurence, J Volmink, T M Esterhuizen, S Dalal, M D Holmes

Abstract


Background. The accelerating epidemic of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) highlights the need to establish long-term cohort studies in Africa.

Objective. The Partnership for Cohort Research and Training (PaCT) seeks to study NCDs in South Africa (SA), Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria on a long-term basis. Pilot studies at each site have tested feasibility. The SA site additionally studied the prevalence of CVD risk factors and categorised participants’ 10-year predicted risk of a cardiovascular event.

Methods. We enrolled teachers from 111 public schools in the Metro South Education District in Cape Town, SA, between January 2011 and May 2012. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire and biological measurements, and chose post or email for 6-month follow-up.

Results. The participation of schools was permitted by 53.2% of principals, and 489 of 1 779 teachers agreed to participate. Of teachers willing to participate in the follow-up, 52% were retained, three-quarters by post and a quarter by email. Their mean age was 46.3 years and 70.3% were female. The prevalence of CVD risk factors was high and featured hypertension (48.5%), hypercholesterolaemia (20.5%), smoking (18.0%), diabetes (10.1%) and chronic kidney disease (10.4%), while 84.7% were overweight or obese. Of the participants, 18.7% were at high risk of a heart attack or stroke within 10 years.

Conclusion. Establishing a cohort study among teachers has challenges but also opportunities for addressing CVD, which will soon impose a substantial burden on Cape Town’s education system.

 


Authors' affiliations

E C Laurence, Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa

J Volmink, Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa; South African Cochrane Centre, South African Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa

T M Esterhuizen, Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa

S Dalal, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA

M D Holmes, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA; Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

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Keywords

Survey; Pilot; Cardiovascular disease; Risk; Africa; Teachers

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(10):996-1001. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i10.10869

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-04-05
Date published: 2016-09-23

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