Advanced Studies in Biology, Vol. 7, 2015, no. 5, 233 - 243
HIKARI Ltd, www.m-hikari.com
The Relationship between Hypertension and
Anthropometric Indices in a Jordanian Population
, Manar AlAzzam2, Mohammed ALBashtawy2,
Loai Tawalbeh2, Ahmad Tubaishat2 and Fadwa N. Alhalaiqa1
1Philadelphia University, Faculty of Nursing, Jordan
2Al-AlBayt University, Faculty of Nursing, Jordan
Copyright © 2015 Abdul-Monim Batiha et al. This is an open access article distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: High blood pressure is correlated with overweight and obesity which
can be assessed by anthropometric indices (hip circumference, waist
circumference, height, weight, waist-to-hip ratio, and a body shape index).
Objectives: To investigate the correlation between anthropometric indices and age
relating to hypertension; additionally to find which one of these variables are most
strongly correlated with high blood pressure in the research Jordanian population.
Methods: A quantitative approach utilizing a descriptive correlation
cross-sectional design was used among students and workers of universities in
Results: 622 participants were included in study; 34.7% were overweight, 15.4%
were obese and hypertension was detected among 22.2% of the participants. The
linear correlation was significant among all anthropometric indices and
hypertension at the p<0.01 level, whereas body shape index and diastolic blood
pressure were significant at the p< 0.05 level. Stepwise multiple linear regression
research showed that waist circumference and age were the independent predictors
Conclusions: Waist circumference and age were the independent predictors of
hypertension. Assessing these predictors should be taken into inconsideration when
screening members of the Jordanian population who are at risk of hypertension.
Further research is required to understand other factors which may affect the issue
234 Abdul-Monim Batiha et al.
of hypertension and to design interventions based on these predictors in order to
prevent the condition’s occurrence or re-occurrence.
Keywords: Anthropometric indices, blood pressure, cross-sectional study,
Hypertension is defined as systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure of 140/90 mm
Hg or more, and/or medication use for decreasing hypertension (Lebeau et al. 2014,
Alhalaiqa et al.2014). The World Health Organization (WHO) categorizes high
blood pressure (BP) as the top risk factor for death rate, accounting for 13% of
fatalities globally. Also, hypertension, or the ‘silent killer’ as it is also known, has
been recognized as an important risk factor for cardiac arrest, stroke, kidney
disease, and increased mortality rates in adults (WHO 2014).
In 2014, WHO announced that 39% (two billion) of the world’s adults were
overweight and 13% (or 600 million) were obese (WHO 2014). The main
modifiable risk factors for high BP are being overweight and obese (Badaruddoza
et al. 2011). The conditions of overweight and obesity are connected to more
fatalities globally than being underweight. Also, most of the earth's population live
in places where being overweight and obese kills more people than those who are
underweight (this contains all high-income and most middle-income nations)
Many studies have offered clear evidence that decreasing weight, via a healthy diet
and exercise, can help individuals with high blood pressure (Campbell & Meckling
2012, Fuglestad et al. 2012, Tawalbeh et al. 2013, Batiha 2014). Although there are
many anthropometric indices that have been used to measure obesity, there is a
debate about which of these anthropometric indices best defines obesity and
contributes to the highest risk for causing hypertension (Nahar et al. 2012). The
early detection of hypertension, and identifying risk factors relating to high blood
pressure, would be an important preventive measure in the population. In Jordan
there are many studies that discuss obesity and hypertension (Jaddou et al. 2000,
Shakhatreh et al. 2008, Jaddou et al. 2011, Bashayreh et al. 2013, Khader et al.
2014, ALBashtawy et al. 2014). But this study is the first to investigate the
correlation between anthropometric indices and age with hypertension. In addition
this research will attempt to find which one, anthropometric indices or age, was the
most strongly correlated with high blood pressure in Jordanian research population.
A cross-sectional design was adopted in this study.
Relationship between hypertension and anthropometric indices 235
2.2. Study population and sampling technique:
Jordan consists of three provinces (North, Middle, and South). One university was
randomly selected from each province to provide a representative sample of
Jordanian universities (Jordan University of Science and Technology, Philadelphia
University, and the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University). The participants were
recruited by a convenience sampling technique. The inclusion criteria were: (a)
aged above 18 years, (b) agree to participate.
An appropriate sample size was identified by using G* power software (Faul,
Erdfelder, Lang, & Buchner, 2007). On the foundation of G* power, the minimal
sample size was 334. To allow for more generalization, and to compensate of
dropout, a total of 790 students and workers from selected universities were invited
to participate in the current study: finally 622 participants were included. The
acceptance rate to the invitation was 78.7% (n=622/790); the study was carried out
between September -November 2014.
2.3. Data collection measurements
2.3.1. Anthropometric measurement
Anthropometric indices were taken from all participants by trained nurses in a
private room in each college, according to standardized equipment and methods.
During data collection for the anthropometrical indices, all participants wore light
clothes. All measurements were taken two times and the mean was recorded: if
values differed by greater than 10%, a third value was taken and the average value
used for analysis (Nahar et al. 2012). Height and weight measurements were
utilized to determine BMI by using weight (kg) divided by height squared (m2)
expressed as kg/m2 (Nahar et al. 2012). Calculating bodyweight was done to the
nearby 0.5 kg; via reliable scales which were calibrated by using a 50 kg weight on
each day of data collection. The height measurement for participants was done in a
standing posture using a portable stadiometer; the participant being without shoes.
An overweight condition was recognized with BMI results ≥25-29.9 kg/m2; obesity
was evident with a body mass index ≥30kg/m2 (Cassani 2009; WHO 2014).
To measure WC, metric tape over light clothing was used at the level of umbilicus.
WC measurements were taken twice by a non-stretchable tape with no pressure on
the skin. The mean of the two sets of values was recorded. The cutoff value of WC
for men was 91.5 cm and for women was 85.5cm (Esteghamati et al. 2008). Hip
circumference was measured at maximum width of the buttocks in a standing
position with the participants feet together (Fu et al. 2014). Central obesity was also
calculated and defined on the basis of WHR. Recognition of an ABSI was based on
the formula: ABSI = WC/ (BMI2/3)*(height1/2) (Krakauer & Krakauer 2012).
236 Abdul-Monim Batiha et al.
2.3.2. Blood pressure measurement
BP was measured on the right arm by the use of a standardized and validated digital
monitor machine (Model HEM-711). Before measuring BP, each individual was
asked to rest comfortably for at least five minutes, while sitting with the
sphygmomanometer at the level of the participant’s heart (Ozturk et al. 2014). For
more accuracy each participant received another measurement, using a different BP
monitor and then the average reading was recorded. When the differences between
measurements exceeded five mmHg, another senior staff would measure it using a
validating mercury sphygmomanometer. The sphygmomanometer’s cuff size was
chosen according to arm circumference. Participants with BPs above 140/ 90
mmHg, or who were being treated for hypertension, were classified as having an
2.3.3. Interview questionnaire
The interview questionnaire was developed by the researchers, and was informed
by other studies (Deshmukh et al. 2006; Nahar et al. 2012).To improve the face and
content validity of the interview questionnaire, three educational specialists in
nursing research examined the format of the questions and equipment to be
employed for data collection.
A pilot study was conducted with 25 students and workers to try out and assess the
framework, content, reliability, and time allowance needed for the questionnaire.
No changes were required with the equipment. However, based on the feedback
from the pilot study’s population some questions were adjusted, and others
removed. Item homogeneity (internal stability reliability) was calculated using
Cronbach's alpha coefficient. The complete stability for all items within each
subscale was good (0.83) (table 1).
The designed set of questions consisted of the following:
1. History of chronic illnesses (diabetic mellitus, hypertension, endocrine, renal,
2. Family medical history (hypertension; diabetic mellitus, obesity….etc.).
3. Drug history, especially antihypertensive medication.
4. Smoking history.
5. Life style history including: eating habit, salt intake, fat intake and exercise.
2.4. Data analysis
Data analysis was performed by using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
(SPSS) (Version 17). Signiﬁcance was set at p<.05. In this analysis, descriptive
data for anthropometric features, systolic and diastolic BP were expressed as mean
± SD. A partial correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the connection between
independent variables (BMI, WC, HC, WHR, ABSI) and dependent variables
(systolic and diastolic BP). A logistic regression model was used to assess different
anthropometric indices with high BP, including age.
Relationship between hypertension and anthropometric indices 237
2.5. Ethical considerations
Approval of the research protocol was taken from the ethical committee of the three
universities involved in the study. Before data collection, each participant was
informed that this interview and anthropometric measurements would be totally
voluntary, there was no need for identiﬁcation, and there was no risk from
participation in this study.
Data was collected from 622 participants; the mean of their age was 30.3 years. The
majority of the participants were nonsmoker (67.8%). Regarding anthropometric
indices: the mean of height was 1.7m and weight was 73.9kg. Their BMI mean was
25.4. Nearly half of the participant are overweight (34.7%) or obese (15.4%). Their
waist circumference mean was 89.5 cm, with a hip circumference mean 102.7cm.
Meanwhile the mean of waist-to-hip ratio was 0.87cm and the BSI was 7.9. The
means of systolic and diastolic BP reflect normality (124 mmHg, 77.5 mmHg
respectively) with around half (54%) actually having normal BP. Therefore, the
majority of participants (93.6%) did not take any antihypertensive drugs. However,
around one third (37.7%) were categorized as pre-hypertensive patients (see Table
Table 1: | Characteristics of participants
Mean ± SD
Body mass index (kg/m2)
Body mass index group
Obese class I (30- 34.9)
Obese class II (35- 39.9)
Obese class III (≥ 40.0)
Waist circumference (cm)
89.5 ± 14.9
Hip circumference (cm)
102.7 ± 11.3
0.87 ± 0.11
Body shape index
7.9 ± 0.86
Systolic blood pressure (mmHg)
124 ± 17.5
Diastolic blood pressure (mmHg)
77.5 ± 10.5
238 Abdul-Monim Batiha et al.
Table 1: (Continued): | Characteristics of participants
% Hypertension category
Stage 1 hypertension*
Stage 2 hypertension
*Systolic BP ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure (mmHg) BP ≥120 or if the
participant was on antihypertensive medication.
Table 2 shows that the linear correlation was significant among all anthropometric
indices and systolic and diastolic blood pressure for (p<0.01), except for ABSI and
diastolic BP, whose readings were significant at p< 0.05. This means that increased
BP is associated with an increase of all anthropometric measurements.
Table 2:| Correlation between anthropometric indices and blood pressure
Body mass index
Hip circumference (cm)
A body shape index (ABSI)
Waist circumference (WC) (cm)
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
*Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)
Hypertension was detected among 138 (22.2%) of the participants. Table 3
summarizes the independent sample t-test that compares the age and
anthropometric indices for hypertensive and normotensive contributors. A
significant difference in age and anthropometric measurements for hypertensive
and normotensive participants was detected.
Relationship between hypertension and anthropometric indices 239
Table 3: | Variances in the mean of age, normotensive, hypertensive and
anthropometric indices among participants according to the presence of
(n = 484)
(n = 138)
Body mass index
Waist circumference (WC) (cm)
Hip circumference (cm)
A body shape index (ABSI)
Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to assess the effect of
age and anthropometric measurements; the only independent predictors of
hypertension were WC and age (see Table 4).
Table 4: |Stepwise multiple linear regression
Body mass index
A body shape index
The major findings of this study were that WC and age were the independent
predictors of hypertension. Also, all the anthropometric indices confirmed a
positive relationship with high BP. Our results are comparable to those revealed by
others (Rahimi et al. 2012; Carba et al. 2013)
An important discovery of this research was that nearly half of the participants were
overweight (34.7%) and obese (15.4%); a situation likely to be due to the intake of
carbohydrates and fats by Jordanians. This intake can be explained by the increased
adoption by the population of a westernized diet containing oily, hot, high sodium
and low fibers material. Low physical activity, due to a lack of sufficient exercising,
and limited walking, together with environmental factors (presence of housemaids,
private cars, television, and advanced household appliances, change in employment
structure, travel systems and enjoyment recreation and activities). The findings of
this research agree with previous studies that had been conducted in different
countries, in terms of a significant relation between anthropometric measures and
increased systolic and diastolic BP (Peymani et al 2012, Moser et al. 2013). These
results should motivate the health care providers in Jordan to carry out appropriate
anthropometric assessment for hypertensive patients in order to control BP.
240 Abdul-Monim Batiha et al.
Our study results found that there was a difference between normotensive and
hypertensive patients in terms of age and anthropometric measures, data which
supported other studies conducted in this field (Batiha et al. 2013, Lie and Kim
2014; Wang et al 2015). However, these studies used rib circumference and body
shape scores in addition to WC, BMI, HC and WHR data.
The findings of this study can be considered as both valuable and relevant.
However, there were some limiting issues in inferring changes over time, between
the variables included and the conclusions reached when using a cross-sectional
research design (Polit & Beck 2010). Second, only Jordanian universities’ students
and workers are included in the present study. One of the strong points of this study
is that the data collection was done by well trained nurses, and the sample was
representative of all Jordanian universities.
4.1. Conclusions and recommendations
The WC and age were the independent anthropometric predictors of hypertension,
showing that this easy statistic may be an important indicator of hypertension in the
Jordanian population. Assessing these predictors should be considered when
screening people at risk for hypertension in the Jordanian population. Regular BP
measurements are essential for health monitoring purposes and for informing the
choice of a treatment plan. It is recommended that a healthy way of life, such as
maintaining a healthy diet and exercising, should be implemented to reduce
obesity. It is thus vital to use life style changes to achieve weight-loss (keeping BMI
from between 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2), such as reducing the intake of dietary salt and
The high prevalence of overweight people in the population of this study is a
warning sign; strong evidence (from previous studies in addition to our study)
showing a close relationship between obesity and serious chronic diseases (e.g.
hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus). Therefore, the health
policy makers should plan practical solutions to increase the public’s
understanding and awareness of these important health issues by designing
appropriate and effective programs to encourage people to modify their life style
to decrease the negative consequences.
Further research is required to understand other factors which may affect the
hypertension and to facilitate the design of intervention based on these predictors,
in order to prevent the occurrence of hypertension, by using a larger and more
Acknowledgements. We would like to acknowledge all the members who
participated in this study, and to all our colleagues who participated in data
This study was financial supported by Philadelphia University, Jordan.
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Received: March 13, 2015; Published: May 11, 2015