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Objective: To provide global estimates of blood pressure by age and sex for adults aged ≥ 30 years, by WHO subregion. Design and methods: Data were obtained from studies identified in a literature review of population-based surveys. These were complemented by data from MONICA and INTERSALT studies. Estimates of the shape of the age-systolic blood pressure (SBP) association were made from survey data utilizing parametric and non-parametric analyses. A linear sex-specific association of SBP with age was demonstrated from 30 to 70 years in females and 20 to 70 years for males in each subregion. Mean age- and sex-specific estimates of SBP were estimated for each WHO subregion separately, based on study and country-weighted SBP data. Results: Analyses were based on data from about 230 surveys and over 660 000 participants. Age-specific mean SBP values ranged from 114 to 164 mmHg for females, and 117-153 mmHg for males. Females typically had lower SBP levels than males in the 30-44-year age groups, but in all subregions, SBP levels rose more steeply with age for females than males. Therefore, SBP levels in those aged ≥ 60 years tended to be higher in females. Subregions with consistently high mean SBP levels included parts of eastern Europe and Africa. Mean SBP levels were lowest in southeast Asia and parts of the western Pacific. Conclusions: These global estimates of blood pressure by age, sex and subregion show considerable variation in estimated levels. The lack of data in developing countries is substantial, and this is an important limitation given the role of blood pressure in increasing cardiovascular disease levels. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Hypertension

Publication Date





413 - 422