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BACKGROUND: Physical measurement reference values are helpful to manage patients, conduct surveillances and monitor and evaluate interventional activities. Such valuable data at a community level however, are almost non-existent in Ethiopia. The objective of this study was to determine anthropometrics and blood pressure in “apparently healthy individuals” in community settings.
METHODS: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted from September 2008 to January 2009 at Gilgel Gibe Field Research Center, Southwest Ethiopia. Blood pressure, height and weight were measured using Automatic Blood Pressure monitor, stadiometers and digital weight scales respectively. Waist and hip circumferences were measured using measuring tapes. BMI was computed as weight in kg divided by square of height in meter of individual (kg/m 2 ). Waist to hip circumference ratio (WHR) was calculated by dividing the waist circumference to hip in centimeter. Data were entered into Epidata and analyzed using SPSS for Windows version 16.0 and STATA 11.
RESULTS: The mean systolic/diastolic blood pressures for men and women were 115.8/73.4 and 112.6/72.9 mmHg respectively. The mean BP values showed increasing trend with age for both sexes. The mean heart rate for men and women were 78.6 and 84.7 beats per minute, respectively. The mean weight and height values in all age groups, waist circumference value in 35 years and above were significantly higher (p < 0.001) for men, while the mean values for hip circumference in under 35 years and body mass index in under 45 year age groups were significantly higher (p < 0.025) for women. The mean body mass index for age group 15-24 (18.1 kg/m 2 ) was significantly lower (p < 0.001) than the other age groups in men; whereas in women those 55+ years had significantly (p < 0.001) lower mean body mass index compared to the other age groups. The Waist to Hip circumference (WHC) ratio increased from 0.87 for age 15-24 years to 0.92 for those age 55 years and above. Comparison with findings in other parts of the world showed that Ethiopians (both sex) had low mean weight, waist and hip circumferences, but high body mass index.
CONCLUSION: The study showed that the physical measurement values are different from the other regions of the world. The use of other reference values in evidence based practices may result in under detection of risk groups.