225922 “A Silent Killer”: How Zambian Immigrants in a Midwestern State Explain Hypertension

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bella Siangonya , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Titilayo A. Okoror, PhD , Department of Health and Kinesiology & African American Studies Research Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Haslyn E. R. Hunte, PhD, MPH , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Rhonda Belue, PhD , Health Policy and Administration, Penn State University, University Park, PA
Purpose: Studies on Explanatory Models (EMs) for hypertension among populations of African descent in the US have mostly been conducted on African Americans. The purpose of this study was to examine EMs for hypertension among Zambian immigrants in Indiana.

Methods: Twenty-two semi-structured interviews were conducted with Zambian immigrants between December 2009 and January 2010. The interviews were conducted in English and guided by five general questions. Participants were also asked to complete a demographic survey. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis, while survey data were analyzed using descriptive frequency.

Results: Participants had a median age range of 36-45 years and the average length of stay in the US was 12 years. Sixteen participants had health insurance and females represented sixty four percent of the participants. Participants described hypertension as high blood pressure and referred to it as 'BP'. Major themes for causes of hypertension centered on fatty American foods, stress, lack of exercise, and food high in salt content. Some identified stressors included medical bills, supporting extended family members in Zambia, and rearing children in America. Women were more aware about hypertension in their social networks and were more likely to have been diagnosed with hypertension than men. Men feared becoming dependent on anti-hypertensive medication more than women.

Conclusion: Hypertension was perceived as a serious health problem in the Zambian immigrant community, especially among women because of their role of holding the family together. There was a desire for hypertension awareness programs in the Zambian immigrant community.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain why Zambian women are perceived to be at a higher risk for developing hypertension. 2. List unique stressors that Zambian immigrants experience in the United States. 3. List perceived causes of hypertension by Zambian immigrants.

Keywords: Hypertension, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a Zambian immigrant and I have been trained in conducting culturally sensitive research with minority populations. In addition, I was involved in interviewing the participants.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.