Anthropometric differences among natives of Abuja living in urban and rural communities: correlations with other cardiovascular risk factors

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: There is an increase of obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors worldwide, but especially in developing countries where multifaceted transitions are occurring. There is need for more evidence for the cardiometabolic effect of changing lifestyles and urbanization in Nigeria. This study aimed at defining rural–urban differences in anthropometric parameters in two Nigerian communities of the same ancestral origin and to determine the cardiovascular risk correlates of these anthropometric measurements. This was a cross-sectional epidemiological study using stratified cluster sampling method. We studied 335 and 332 urban and rural dwellers respectively. A complete cardiovascular profile as well as anthropometric measurements was compared between the two populations.

Results: All anthropometric indices considered in this study (weight, BMI, waist circumference, waist circumference/ height ratio, abdominal height; biceps, triceps, sub-scapular, abdominal, superior iliac skinfold thicknesses) were significantly higher in urban than in the rural population (p = <0.001). Overweight, obesity and hypertension were significantly prevalent among the urban population (p = <0.001) while there was no significant difference in the prevalence of dyslipidaemia (p = 0.096) and diabetes (p = 0.083) between the two cohorts. Females tend to have a higher chance of obesity than males although there was no gender difference in waist circumference and central skin fold thickness in the rural population. Age was the significant predictor of systolic blood pressure among the rural (R2 = 0.157, β = 0.258, p = 0.016) and urban female population (R2 = 0.201, β = 0.351, p= <0.001) while Abdominal height (R2 = 0.16, β =0.281, p=0.001) and waist circumference (R2 = 0.064 β = 0.064, p= .003) were predictors of systolic blood pressure in urban and rural men respectively.

Conclusion: Anthropometric indices were significantly higher among the urban than the rural populations. Cardiovascular risks were equally more prevalent among the urban population. Appropriate health education and lifestyle modification strategies may reduce the increased burden of cardiovascular risk factors associated with rural–urban migration.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.