Publications by authors named "Michaela Theilmann"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care in 35 low- and middle-income countries: A cross-sectional study of nationally representative surveys.

PLoS Med 2021 Oct 25;18(10):e1003841. Epub 2021 Oct 25.

Department of Economics & Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Goettingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Background: As the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia is increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), detailed evidence is urgently needed to guide the response of health systems to this epidemic. This study sought to quantify unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care among adults in 35 LMICs.

Methods And Findings: We pooled individual-level data from 129,040 respondents aged 15 years and older from 35 nationally representative surveys conducted between 2009 and 2018. Hypercholesterolemia care was quantified using cascade of care analyses in the pooled sample and by region, country income group, and country. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as (i) total cholesterol (TC) ≥240 mg/dL or self-reported lipid-lowering medication use and, alternatively, as (ii) low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥160 mg/dL or self-reported lipid-lowering medication use. Stages of the care cascade for hypercholesterolemia were defined as follows: screened (prior to the survey), aware of diagnosis, treated (lifestyle advice and/or medication), and controlled (TC <200 mg/dL or LDL-C <130 mg/dL). We further estimated how age, sex, education, body mass index (BMI), current smoking, having diabetes, and having hypertension are associated with cascade progression using modified Poisson regression models with survey fixed effects. High TC prevalence was 7.1% (95% CI: 6.8% to 7.4%), and high LDL-C prevalence was 7.5% (95% CI: 7.1% to 7.9%). The cascade analysis showed that 43% (95% CI: 40% to 45%) of study participants with high TC and 47% (95% CI: 44% to 50%) with high LDL-C ever had their cholesterol measured prior to the survey. About 31% (95% CI: 29% to 33%) and 36% (95% CI: 33% to 38%) were aware of their diagnosis; 29% (95% CI: 28% to 31%) and 33% (95% CI: 31% to 36%) were treated; 7% (95% CI: 6% to 9%) and 19% (95% CI: 18% to 21%) were controlled. We found substantial heterogeneity in cascade performance across countries and higher performances in upper-middle-income countries and the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, and Americas. Lipid screening was significantly associated with older age, female sex, higher education, higher BMI, comorbid diagnosis of diabetes, and comorbid diagnosis of hypertension. Awareness of diagnosis was significantly associated with older age, higher BMI, comorbid diagnosis of diabetes, and comorbid diagnosis of hypertension. Lastly, treatment of hypercholesterolemia was significantly associated with comorbid hypertension and diabetes, and control of lipid measures with comorbid diabetes. The main limitations of this study are a potential recall bias in self-reported information on received health services as well as diminished comparability due to varying survey years and varying lipid guideline application across country and clinical settings.

Conclusions: Cascade performance was poor across all stages, indicating large unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care in this sample of LMICs-calling for greater policy and research attention toward this cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor and highlighting opportunities for improved prevention of CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003841DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8575312PMC
October 2021

Estimated effect of increased diagnosis, treatment, and control of diabetes and its associated cardiovascular risk factors among low-income and middle-income countries: a microsimulation model.

Lancet Glob Health 2021 Nov 22;9(11):e1539-e1552. Epub 2021 Sep 22.

Institute for Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; Centre for Global Surgery, Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; Medical Research Council-Wits University Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Background: Given the increasing prevalence of diabetes in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), we aimed to estimate the health and cost implications of achieving different targets for diagnosis, treatment, and control of diabetes and its associated cardiovascular risk factors among LMICs.

Methods: We constructed a microsimulation model to estimate disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost and health-care costs of diagnosis, treatment, and control of blood pressure, dyslipidaemia, and glycaemia among people with diabetes in LMICs. We used individual participant data-specifically from the subset of people who were defined as having any type of diabetes by WHO standards-from nationally representative, cross-sectional surveys (2006-18) spanning 15 world regions to estimate the baseline 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (defined as fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction and stroke), heart failure (ejection fraction of <40%, with New York Heart Association class III or IV functional limitations), end-stage renal disease (defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate <15 mL/min per 1·73 m or needing dialysis or transplant), retinopathy with severe vision loss (<20/200 visual acuity as measured by the Snellen chart), and neuropathy with pressure sensation loss (assessed by the Semmes-Weinstein 5·07/10 g monofilament exam). We then used data from meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials to estimate the reduction in risk and the WHO OneHealth tool to estimate costs in reaching either 60% or 80% of diagnosis, treatment initiation, and control targets for blood pressure, dyslipidaemia, and glycaemia recommended by WHO guidelines. Costs were updated to 2020 International Dollars, and both costs and DALYs were computed over a 10-year policy planning time horizon at a 3% annual discount rate.

Findings: We obtained data from 23 678 people with diabetes from 67 countries. The median estimated 10-year risk was 10·0% (IQR 4·0-18·0) for cardiovascular events, 7·8% (5·1-11·8) for neuropathy with pressure sensation loss, 7·2% (5·6-9·4) for end-stage renal disease, 6·0% (4·2-8·6) for retinopathy with severe vision loss, and 2·6% (1·2-5·3) for congestive heart failure. A target of 80% diagnosis, 80% treatment, and 80% control would be expected to reduce DALYs lost from diabetes complications from a median population-weighted loss to 1097 DALYs per 1000 population over 10 years (IQR 1051-1155), relative to a baseline of 1161 DALYs, primarily from reduced cardiovascular events (down from a median of 143 to 117 DALYs per 1000 population) due to blood pressure and statin treatment, with comparatively little effect from glycaemic control. The target of 80% diagnosis, 80% treatment, and 80% control would be expected to produce an overall incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of US$1362 per DALY averted (IQR 1304-1409), with the majority of decreased costs from reduced cardiovascular event management, counterbalanced by increased costs for blood pressure and statin treatment, producing an overall incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $1362 per DALY averted (IQR 1304-1409).

Interpretation: Reducing complications from diabetes in LMICs is likely to require a focus on scaling up blood pressure and statin medication treatment initiation and blood pressure medication titration rather than focusing on increasing screening to increase diabetes diagnosis, or a glycaemic treatment and control among people with diabetes.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00340-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8526364PMC
November 2021

Body-mass index and diabetes risk in 57 low-income and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study of nationally representative, individual-level data in 685 616 adults.

Lancet 2021 07;398(10296):238-248

Non-Communicable Diseases Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Population Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Background: The prevalence of overweight, obesity, and diabetes is rising rapidly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), but there are scant empirical data on the association between body-mass index (BMI) and diabetes in these settings.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we pooled individual-level data from nationally representative surveys across 57 LMICs. We identified all countries in which a WHO Stepwise Approach to Surveillance (STEPS) survey had been done during a year in which the country fell into an eligible World Bank income group category. For LMICs that did not have a STEPS survey, did not have valid contact information, or declined our request for data, we did a systematic search for survey datasets. Eligible surveys were done during or after 2008; had individual-level data; were done in a low-income, lower-middle-income, or upper-middle-income country; were nationally representative; had a response rate of 50% or higher; contained a diabetes biomarker (either a blood glucose measurement or glycated haemoglobin [HbA]); and contained data on height and weight. Diabetes was defined biologically as a fasting plasma glucose concentration of 7·0 mmol/L (126·0 mg/dL) or higher; a random plasma glucose concentration of 11·1 mmol/L (200·0 mg/dL) or higher; or a HbA of 6·5% (48·0 mmol/mol) or higher, or by self-reported use of diabetes medication. We included individuals aged 25 years or older with complete data on diabetes status, BMI (defined as normal [18·5-22·9 kg/m], upper-normal [23·0-24·9 kg/m], overweight [25·0-29·9 kg/m], or obese [≥30·0 kg/m]), sex, and age. Countries were categorised into six geographical regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and central Asia, east, south, and southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and north Africa, and Oceania. We estimated the association between BMI and diabetes risk by multivariable Poisson regression and receiver operating curve analyses, stratified by sex and geographical region.

Findings: Our pooled dataset from 58 nationally representative surveys in 57 LMICs included 685 616 individuals. The overall prevalence of overweight was 27·2% (95% CI 26·6-27·8), of obesity was 21·0% (19·6-22·5), and of diabetes was 9·3% (8·4-10·2). In the pooled analysis, a higher risk of diabetes was observed at a BMI of 23 kg/m or higher, with a 43% greater risk of diabetes for men and a 41% greater risk for women compared with a BMI of 18·5-22·9 kg/m. Diabetes risk also increased steeply in individuals aged 35-44 years and in men aged 25-34 years in sub-Saharan Africa. In the stratified analyses, there was considerable regional variability in this association. Optimal BMI thresholds for diabetes screening ranged from 23·8 kg/m among men in east, south, and southeast Asia to 28·3 kg/m among women in the Middle East and north Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Interpretation: The association between BMI and diabetes risk in LMICs is subject to substantial regional variability. Diabetes risk is greater at lower BMI thresholds and at younger ages than reflected in currently used BMI cutoffs for assessing diabetes risk. These findings offer an important insight to inform context-specific diabetes screening guidelines.

Funding: Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health McLennan Fund: Dean's Challenge Grant Program.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00844-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336025PMC
July 2021

Targeting Hypertension Screening in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of 1.2 Million Adults in 56 Countries.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 07 2;10(13):e021063. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Heidelberg Institute of Global Health Medical Faculty and University Hospital University of Heidelberg Germany.

Background As screening programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) often do not have the resources to screen the entire population, there is frequently a need to target such efforts to easily identifiable priority groups. This study aimed to determine (1) how hypertension prevalence in LMICs varies by age, sex, body mass index, and smoking status, and (2) the ability of different combinations of these variables to accurately predict hypertension. Methods and Results We analyzed individual-level, nationally representative data from 1 170 629 participants in 56 LMICs, of whom 220 636 (18.8%) had hypertension. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg, or reporting to be taking blood pressure-lowering medication. The shape of the positive association of hypertension with age and body mass index varied across world regions. We used logistic regression and random forest models to compute the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve in each country for different combinations of age, body mass index, sex, and smoking status. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the model with all 4 predictors ranged from 0.64 to 0.85 between countries, with a country-level mean of 0.76 across LMICs globally. The mean absolute increase in the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve from the model including only age to the model including all 4 predictors was 0.05. Conclusions Adding body mass index, sex, and smoking status to age led to only a minor increase in the ability to distinguish between adults with and without hypertension compared with using age alone. Hypertension screening programs in LMICs could use age as the primary variable to target their efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.121.021063DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8403275PMC
July 2021

Cardiovascular disease risk profile and management practices in 45 low-income and middle-income countries: A cross-sectional study of nationally representative individual-level survey data.

PLoS Med 2021 03 4;18(3):e1003485. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Background: Global cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden is high and rising, especially in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Focussing on 45 LMICs, we aimed to determine (1) the adult population's median 10-year predicted CVD risk, including its variation within countries by socio-demographic characteristics, and (2) the prevalence of self-reported blood pressure (BP) medication use among those with and without an indication for such medication as per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

Methods And Findings: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative household surveys from 45 LMICs carried out between 2005 and 2017, with 32 surveys being WHO Stepwise Approach to Surveillance (STEPS) surveys. Country-specific median 10-year CVD risk was calculated using the 2019 WHO CVD Risk Chart Working Group non-laboratory-based equations. BP medication indications were based on the WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions guidelines. Regression models examined associations between CVD risk, BP medication use, and socio-demographic characteristics. Our complete case analysis included 600,484 adults from 45 countries. Median 10-year CVD risk (interquartile range [IQR]) for males and females was 2.7% (2.3%-4.2%) and 1.6% (1.3%-2.1%), respectively, with estimates indicating the lowest risk in sub-Saharan Africa and highest in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Higher educational attainment and current employment were associated with lower CVD risk in most countries. Of those indicated for BP medication, the median (IQR) percentage taking medication was 24.2% (15.4%-37.2%) for males and 41.6% (23.9%-53.8%) for females. Conversely, a median (IQR) 47.1% (36.1%-58.6%) of all people taking a BP medication were not indicated for such based on CVD risk status. There was no association between BP medication use and socio-demographic characteristics in most of the 45 study countries. Study limitations include variation in country survey methods, most notably the sample age range and year of data collection, insufficient data to use the laboratory-based CVD risk equations, and an inability to determine past history of a CVD diagnosis.

Conclusions: This study found underuse of guideline-indicated BP medication in people with elevated CVD risk and overuse by people with lower CVD risk. Country-specific targeted policies are needed to help improve the identification and management of those at highest CVD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003485DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7932723PMC
March 2021

Variation in the Proportion of Adults in Need of Blood Pressure-Lowering Medications by Hypertension Care Guideline in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Cross-Sectional Study of 1 037 215 Individuals From 50 Nationally Representative Surveys.

Circulation 2021 03 8;143(10):991-1001. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Division of Primary Care and Population Health, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, CA (P.G.).

Background: Current hypertension guidelines vary substantially in their definition of who should be offered blood pressure-lowering medications. Understanding the effect of guideline choice on the proportion of adults who require treatment is crucial for planning and scaling up hypertension care in low- and middle-income countries.

Methods: We extracted cross-sectional data on age, sex, blood pressure, hypertension treatment and diagnosis status, smoking, and body mass index for adults 30 to 70 years of age from nationally representative surveys in 50 low- and middle-income countries (N = 1 037 215). We aimed to determine the effect of hypertension guideline choice on the proportion of adults in need of blood pressure-lowering medications. We considered 4 hypertension guidelines: the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guideline, the commonly used 140/90 mm Hg threshold, the 2016 World Health Organization HEARTS guideline, and the 2019 UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline.

Results: The proportion of adults in need of blood pressure-lowering medications was highest under the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, followed by the 140/90 mm Hg, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and World Health Organization guidelines (American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association: women, 27.7% [95% CI, 27.2-28.2], men, 35.0% [95% CI, 34.4-35.7]; 140/90 mm Hg: women, 26.1% [95% CI, 25.5-26.6], men, 31.2% [95% CI, 30.6-31.9]; National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: women, 11.8% [95% CI, 11.4-12.1], men, 15.7% [95% CI, 15.3-16.2]; World Health Organization: women, 9.2% [95% CI, 8.9-9.5], men, 11.0% [95% CI, 10.6-11.4]). Individuals who were unaware that they have hypertension were the primary contributor to differences in the proportion needing treatment under different guideline criteria. Differences in the proportion needing blood pressure-lowering medications were largest in the oldest (65-69 years) age group (American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association: women, 60.2% [95% CI, 58.8-61.6], men, 70.1% [95% CI, 68.8-71.3]; World Health Organization: women, 20.1% [95% CI, 18.8-21.3], men, 24.1.0% [95% CI, 22.3-25.9]). For both women and men and across all guidelines, countries in the European and Eastern Mediterranean regions had the highest proportion of adults in need of blood pressure-lowering medicines, whereas the South and Central Americas had the lowest.

Conclusions: There was substantial variation in the proportion of adults in need of blood pressure-lowering medications depending on which hypertension guideline was used. Given the great implications of this choice for health system capacity, policy makers will need to carefully consider which guideline they should adopt when scaling up hypertension care in their country.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.051620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940589PMC
March 2021

Lifetime Prevalence of Cervical Cancer Screening in 55 Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

JAMA 2020 10;324(15):1532-1542

Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH), Medical Faculty and University Hospital, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Importance: The World Health Organization is developing a global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer, with goals for screening prevalence among women aged 30 through 49 years. However, evidence on prevalence levels of cervical cancer screening in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is sparse.

Objective: To determine lifetime cervical cancer screening prevalence in LMICs and its variation across and within world regions and countries.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Analysis of cross-sectional nationally representative household surveys carried out in 55 LMICs from 2005 through 2018. The median response rate across surveys was 93.8% (range, 64.0%-99.3%). The population-based sample consisted of 1 136 289 women aged 15 years or older, of whom 6885 (0.6%) had missing information for the survey question on cervical cancer screening.

Exposures: World region, country; countries' economic, social, and health system characteristics; and individuals' sociodemographic characteristics.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Self-report of having ever had a screening test for cervical cancer.

Results: Of the 1 129 404 women included in the analysis, 542 475 were aged 30 through 49 years. A country-level median of 43.6% (interquartile range [IQR], 13.9%-77.3%; range, 0.3%-97.4%) of women aged 30 through 49 years self-reported to have ever been screened, with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean having the highest prevalence (country-level median, 84.6%; IQR, 65.7%-91.1%; range, 11.7%-97.4%) and those in sub-Saharan Africa the lowest prevalence (country-level median, 16.9%; IQR, 3.7%-31.0%; range, 0.9%-50.8%). There was large variation in the self-reported lifetime prevalence of cervical cancer screening among countries within regions and among countries with similar levels of per capita gross domestic product and total health expenditure. Within countries, women who lived in rural areas, had low educational attainment, or had low household wealth were generally least likely to self-report ever having been screened.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this cross-sectional study of data collected in 55 low- and middle-income countries from 2005 through 2018, there was wide variation between countries in the self-reported lifetime prevalence of cervical cancer screening. However, the median prevalence was only 44%, supporting the need to increase the rate of screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.16244DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7576410PMC
October 2020

Analysis of Attained Height and Diabetes Among 554,122 Adults Across 25 Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Diabetes Care 2020 10 6;43(10):2403-2410. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

Department of Economics and Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Objective: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rising rapidly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), but the factors driving this rapid increase are not well understood. Adult height, in particular shorter height, has been suggested to contribute to the pathophysiology and epidemiology of diabetes and may inform how adverse environmental conditions in early life affect diabetes risk. We therefore systematically analyzed the association of adult height and diabetes across LMICs, where such conditions are prominent.

Research Design And Methods: We pooled individual-level data from nationally representative surveys in LMICs that included anthropometric measurements and diabetes biomarkers. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) for the relationship between attained adult height and diabetes using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression models. We estimated ORs for the pooled sample, major world regions, and individual countries, in addition to stratifying all analyses by sex. We examined heterogeneity by individual-level characteristics.

Results: Our sample included 554,122 individuals across 25 population-based surveys. Average height was 161.7 cm (95% CI 161.2-162.3), and the crude prevalence of diabetes was 7.5% (95% CI 6.9-8.2). We found no relationship between adult height and diabetes across LMICs globally or in most world regions. When stratifying our sample by country and sex, we found an inverse association between adult height and diabetes in 5% of analyses (2 out of 50). Results were robust to alternative model specifications.

Conclusions: Adult height is not associated with diabetes across LMICs. Environmental factors in early life reflected in attained adult height likely differ from those predisposing individuals for diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-0019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646204PMC
October 2020

Diabetes Prevalence and Its Relationship With Education, Wealth, and BMI in 29 Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Diabetes Care 2020 04 12;43(4):767-775. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

Non-Communicable Diseases, Caribbean Public Health Agency, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Objective: Diabetes is a rapidly growing health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but empirical data on its prevalence and relationship to socioeconomic status are scarce. We estimated diabetes prevalence and the subset with undiagnosed diabetes in 29 LMICs and evaluated the relationship of education, household wealth, and BMI with diabetes risk.

Research Design And Methods: We pooled individual-level data from 29 nationally representative surveys conducted between 2008 and 2016, totaling 588,574 participants aged ≥25 years. Diabetes prevalence and the subset with undiagnosed diabetes was calculated overall and by country, World Bank income group (WBIG), and geographic region. Multivariable Poisson regression models were used to estimate relative risk (RR).

Results: Overall, prevalence of diabetes in 29 LMICs was 7.5% (95% CI 7.1-8.0) and of undiagnosed diabetes 4.9% (4.6-5.3). Diabetes prevalence increased with increasing WBIG: countries with low-income economies (LICs) 6.7% (5.5-8.1), lower-middle-income economies (LMIs) 7.1% (6.6-7.6), and upper-middle-income economies (UMIs) 8.2% (7.5-9.0). Compared with no formal education, greater educational attainment was associated with an increased risk of diabetes across WBIGs, after adjusting for BMI (LICs RR 1.47 [95% CI 1.22-1.78], LMIs 1.14 [1.06-1.23], and UMIs 1.28 [1.02-1.61]).

Conclusions: Among 29 LMICs, diabetes prevalence was substantial and increased with increasing WBIG. In contrast to the association seen in high-income countries, diabetes risk was highest among those with greater educational attainment, independent of BMI. LMICs included in this analysis may be at an advanced stage in the nutrition transition but with no reversal in the socioeconomic gradient of diabetes risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc19-1782DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7085810PMC
April 2020

Anaemia among men in India: a nationally representative cross-sectional study.

Lancet Glob Health 2019 12;7(12):e1685-e1694

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Population-based studies on anaemia in India have mostly focused on women and children, with men with anaemia receiving much less attention despite anaemia's adverse effect on health, wellbeing, and economic productivity. This study aimed to determine the national prevalence of anaemia among men in India; how the prevalence of anaemia in men varies across India among states and districts and by sociodemographic characteristics; and whether the geographical and sociodemographic variation in the prevalence of anaemia among men is similar to that among women to inform whether anaemia reduction efforts for men should be coupled with existing efforts for women.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we analysed data from a nationally representative household survey carried out from January, 2015, to December, 2016, among men aged 15-54 years and women aged 15-49 years in all 29 states and seven Union Territories of India. Haemoglobin concentration was measured using the portable HemoCue Hb 201+ (HemoCue AB, Ängelholm, Sweden) and a capillary blood sample. In addition to disaggregating anaemia prevalence (separately in men and women) by state and age group, we used mixed-effects Poisson regression to determine individual-level and district-level predictors of anaemia.

Findings: 106 298 men and 633 305 women were included in our analysis. In men, the prevalence of any anaemia was 23·2% (95% CI 22·7-23·7), moderate or severe anaemia was 5·1% (4·9-5·4), and severe anaemia was 0·5% (0·5-0·6). An estimated 21·7% (20·9-22·5) of men with any degree of anaemia had moderate or severe anaemia compared with 53·2% (52·9-53·5) of women with any anaemia. Men aged 20-34 years had the lowest probability of having anaemia whereas anaemia prevalence among women was similar across age groups. State-level prevalence of any anaemia in men varied from 9·2% (7·7-10·9) in Manipur to 32·9% (31·0-34·7) in Bihar. The individual-level predictors of less household wealth, lower education, living in a rural area, smoking, consuming smokeless tobacco, and being underweight and the district-level predictors of living in a district with a lower rate of primary school completion, level of urbanisation, and household wealth were all associated with a higher probability of anaemia in men. Although some important exceptions were noted, district-level and state-level prevalence of anaemia among men correlated strongly with that among women.

Interpretation: Anaemia among men in India is an important public health problem. Because of the similarities in the patterns of geographical and sociodemographic variation of anaemia between men and women, future efforts to reduce anaemia among men could target similar population groups as those targeted in existing efforts to reduce anaemia among women.

Funding: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30440-1DOI Listing
December 2019

The prevalence of concurrently raised blood glucose and blood pressure in India: a cross-sectional study of 2035 662 adults.

J Hypertens 2019 09;37(9):1822-1831

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Objective: To inform integrated, person-centered interventions, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of having both a raised blood glucose and blood pressure (BP) in India, and its variation among states and population groups.

Methods: We pooled data from three large household surveys (the Annual Health Survey, District Level Household and Facility Survey, and National Family Health Survey), which were carried out between 2012 and 2016 and included adults aged at least 15 years. Raised blood glucose was defined as having a plasma glucose reading at least 126 mg/dl if fasted and at least 200 mg/dl if not fasted, and raised BP as a SBP of at least 140 mmHg or DBP of at least 90 mmHg. The prevalence of having a concurrently raised blood glucose and BP (comorbid) was age-standardized to India's national population structure, and disaggregated by sex, age group, BMI group, rural-urban residency, household wealth quintile, education, state, and region.

Results: The age-standardized prevalence of this comorbidity was 1.5% [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.5-1.5], and varied by a factor of 8.3 between states. Among those aged at least 50 years, 4.5% (95% CI, 4.3-4.7) with a BMI less than 23.0 kg/m and 16.1% (95% CI, 15.0-17.4) with a BMI at least 30 kg/m were comorbid. Age, BMI, household wealth quintile, male sex, and urban location were all positively associated with this comorbidity.

Conclusion: A substantial proportion of India's population had both a raised blood glucose and BP, calling for integrated interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. We identified large variation among states, age groups, and by rural-urban residency, which can inform health system planning and the targeting of interventions, such as appropriate screening programs, to those most in need.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0000000000002114DOI Listing
September 2019

Geographic and sociodemographic variation of cardiovascular disease risk in India: A cross-sectional study of 797,540 adults.

PLoS Med 2018 06 19;15(6):e1002581. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality in India. Yet, evidence on the CVD risk of India's population is limited. To inform health system planning and effective targeting of interventions, this study aimed to determine how CVD risk-and the factors that determine risk-varies among states in India, by rural-urban location, and by individual-level sociodemographic characteristics.

Methods And Findings: We used 2 large household surveys carried out between 2012 and 2014, which included a sample of 797,540 adults aged 30 to 74 years across India. The main outcome variable was the predicted 10-year risk of a CVD event as calculated with the Framingham risk score. The Harvard-NHANES, Globorisk, and WHO-ISH scores were used in secondary analyses. CVD risk and the prevalence of CVD risk factors were examined by state, rural-urban residence, age, sex, household wealth, and education. Mean CVD risk varied from 13.2% (95% CI: 12.7%-13.6%) in Jharkhand to 19.5% (95% CI: 19.1%-19.9%) in Kerala. CVD risk tended to be highest in North, Northeast, and South India. District-level wealth quintile (based on median household wealth in a district) and urbanization were both positively associated with CVD risk. Similarly, household wealth quintile and living in an urban area were positively associated with CVD risk among both sexes, but the associations were stronger among women than men. Smoking was more prevalent in poorer household wealth quintiles and in rural areas, whereas body mass index, high blood glucose, and systolic blood pressure were positively associated with household wealth and urban location. Men had a substantially higher (age-standardized) smoking prevalence (26.2% [95% CI: 25.7%-26.7%] versus 1.8% [95% CI: 1.7%-1.9%]) and mean systolic blood pressure (126.9 mm Hg [95% CI: 126.7-127.1] versus 124.3 mm Hg [95% CI: 124.1-124.5]) than women. Important limitations of this analysis are the high proportion of missing values (27.1%) in the main outcome variable, assessment of diabetes through a 1-time capillary blood glucose measurement, and the inability to exclude participants with a current or previous CVD event.

Conclusions: This study identified substantial variation in CVD risk among states and sociodemographic groups in India-findings that can facilitate effective targeting of CVD programs to those most at risk and most in need. While the CVD risk scores used have not been validated in South Asian populations, the patterns of variation in CVD risk among the Indian population were similar across all 4 risk scoring systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002581DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007838PMC
June 2018

Diabetes and Hypertension in India: A Nationally Representative Study of 1.3 Million Adults.

JAMA Intern Med 2018 03;178(3):363-372

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: Understanding how diabetes and hypertension prevalence varies within a country as large as India is essential for targeting of prevention, screening, and treatment services. However, to our knowledge there has been no prior nationally representative study of these conditions to guide the design of effective policies.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in India, and its variation by state, rural vs urban location, and individual-level sociodemographic characteristics.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This was a cross-sectional, nationally representative, population-based study carried out between 2012 and 2014. A total of 1 320 555 adults 18 years or older with plasma glucose (PG) and blood pressure (BP) measurements were included in the analysis.

Exposures: State, rural vs urban location, age, sex, household wealth quintile, education, and marital status.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Diabetes (PG level ≥126 mg/dL if the participant had fasted or ≥200 mg/dL if the participant had not fasted) and hypertension (systolic BP≥140 mm Hg or diastolic BP≥90 mm Hg).

Results: Of the 1 320 555 adults, 701 408 (53.1%) were women. The crude prevalence of diabetes and hypertension was 7.5% (95% CI, 7.3%-7.7%) and 25.3% (95% CI, 25.0%-25.6%), respectively. Notably, hypertension was common even among younger age groups (eg, 18-25 years: 12.1%; 95% CI, 11.8%-12.5%). Being in the richest household wealth quintile compared with being in the poorest quintile was associated with only a modestly higher probability of diabetes (rural: 2.81 percentage points; 95% CI, 2.53-3.08 and urban: 3.47 percentage points; 95% CI, 3.03-3.91) and hypertension (rural: 4.15 percentage points; 95% CI, 3.68-4.61 and urban: 3.01 percentage points; 95% CI, 2.38-3.65). The differences in the probability of both conditions by educational category were generally small (≤2 percentage points). Among states, the crude prevalence of diabetes and hypertension varied from 3.2% (95% CI, 2.7%-3.7%) to 19.9% (95% CI, 17.6%-22.3%), and 18.0% (95% CI, 16.6%-19.5%) to 41.6% (95% CI, 37.8%-45.5%), respectively.

Conclusions And Relevance: Diabetes and hypertension prevalence is high in middle and old age across all geographical areas and sociodemographic groups in India, and hypertension prevalence among young adults is higher than previously thought. Evidence on the variations in prevalence by state, age group, and rural vs urban location is critical to effectively target diabetes and hypertension prevention, screening, and treatment programs to those most in need.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.8094DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5885928PMC
March 2018
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