Prehypertension and psychosocial risk factors among university students in ASEAN countries

03 Jun 2021

Background Existing evidence suggests that the cardiovascular morbidities are increasing among pre-hypertensive individuals compared to normal. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of prehypertension, hypertension and to identify psychosocial risk factors for prehypertension among university students in Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries. Methods Based on a cross-sectional survey, the total sample included 4649 undergraduate university students (females = 65.3%; mean age 20.5, SD = 2.9, age range of 18–30 years) from 7 ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam). Blood pressure, anthropometric, health behaviour and psychosocial variables were measured. Results Overall, 19.0% of the undergraduate university students across ASEAN countries had prehypertension, 6.7% hypertension and 74.2% were normotensives. There was country variation in prehypertension prevalence, ranging from 11.3% in Indonesia and 11.5% in Malaysia to above 18% in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. In multivariate analysis, sociodemographic variables (male gender, living in an upper middle income country, and living on campus or off campus on their own), nutrition and weight variables (not being underweight and obese, having once or more times soft drinks in a day and never or rarely having chocolate or candy), heavy drinking and having depressive symptoms were associated with prehypertension. Conclusion The study found a high prevalence of prehypertension in ASEAN university students. Several psychosocial risk factors including male gender, obesity, soft drinks consumption, heavy drinking and depression symptoms have been identified which can help in intervention programmes.