Seven-Year Longitudinal Change in Risk Factors for Non-Communicable Diseases in Rural Kerala, India

The WHO STEPS approach

Citation: Sathish T, Kannan S, Sarma SP, Razum O, Sauzet O, Thankappan KR (2017) Seven-year longitudinal change in risk factors for non-communicable diseases in rural Kerala, India: The WHO STEPS approach. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0178949.
Published: June 9, 2017

Nearly three-quarters of global deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) occur in low- and middle-income countries such as India. However, there are few data available on longitudinal change in risk factors for NCDs in India. We conducted a cohort study among 495 individuals (aged 15 to 64 years at baseline) in rural Kerala state, India, from 2003 to 2010. For the present analysis, data from 410 adults (aged 20 to 64 years at baseline) who participated at both baseline and follow-up studies were analyzed. We used the World Health Organization STEPwise approach to risk factor surveillance for data collection. Age-adjusted change in risk factors for NCDs was assessed using the mixed-effects linear regression for continuous variables and the generalized estimating equation for categorical variables. The mean age of participants at baseline was 41.6 years, and 53.9% were women. The mean follow-up period was 7.1 years. There were significant increases in weight (mean change +5.0 kg, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.2 to 5.8), body mass index (mean change +1.8 kg/m2, 95% CI 1.5 to 2.1), waist circumference (mean change +3.9 cm, 95% CI 3.0 to 4.8), waist-to-height ratio (mean change +0.022, 95% CI 0.016 to 0.027), current smokeless tobacco use (men: odds ratio [OR] 1.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.2), alcohol use (men: OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.9 to 3.5; women: OR 4.8, 95% CI 1.8 to 12.6), physical inactivity (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3 to 3.0), obesity (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.7 to 2.8), and central obesity (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.5 to 2.3). Over a seven-year period, several NCD risk factors have increased in the study cohort. This calls for implementation of lifestyle intervention programs in rural Kerala.


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