Get access

Community screening for cardiovascular risk factors and levels of treatment in a rural Māori cohort


Correspondence to: Associate Professor Vicky A Cameron, Christchurch Cardioendocrine Research Group, University of Otago, Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand; e-mail:


Objectives: To document levels of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diagnosed and undiagnosed risk factors and clinical management of CVD risk in rural Māori.

Methods: Participants (aged 20–64 years), of Māori descent and self-report, were randomly sampled to be representative of age and gender profiles of the community. Screening clinics included health questionnaires, fasting blood samples, blood pressure and anthropometric measures. Data were obtained from participants’ primary care physicians regarding prior diagnoses and current clinical management. New Zealand Cardiovascular Guidelines were used to identify new diagnoses at screening and Bestpractice© electronic-decision support software used to estimate 5-year CVD risk.

Results: Mean age of participants (n=252) was 45.7±0.7, 8% reported a history of cardiac disease, 43% were current smokers, 22% had a healthy BMI, 30% were overweight and 48% obese. Hypertension was previously diagnosed in 25%; an additional 22% were hypertensive at screening. Dyslipidaemia was previously diagnosed in 14% and an additional 43% were dyslipidaemic at screening. Type-2 diabetes was previously diagnosed in 11%. Glycaemic control was achieved in only 21% of those with type-2 diabetes. Blood pressure and cholesterol were above recommended targets in more than half of those with diagnosed CVD risk factors.

Conclusions: High levels of diagnosed and undiagnosed CVD risk factors, especially hypertension, dyslipidaemia and diabetes were identified in this rural Māori community.

Implications: There is a need for opportunistic screening and intensified management of CVD risk factors in this indigenous population group.