To compare blood pressures in northern (Beijing) and southern (Guangzhou) Chinese population samples aged 35–54 years, males and females, urban and rural, and to assess the role of blood pressure-related traits in explaining north-south differences.
Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 1983–1984 of northern and southern populations employed in industry (urban) or farming (rural).
In the north samples were selected from the Capital Iron and Steel Complex (urban) and Shijingshan district (rural); in the south samples from the Guangzhou Shipyard (urban) and Panyu County (rural) were used.
The number of subjects surveyed in north and south were 4706 and 4179, respectively: 1500 and 1052 urban males, and 717 and 914 rural males; and 1300 and 1061 urban females, and 1189 and 1152 rural females, respectively. Average systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressures, were consistently higher in the north than in the south. SBP and DBP were significantly and independently related to age, body mass index, heart rate, use of antihypertensive drugs, serum triglycerides level, alcohol use (males only) and inversely to cigarette smoking. Northerners were older, taller, heavier and had higher body mass index and triglycerides level than southerners. With adjustment of SBP and DBP for blood pressure-related traits, north-south blood pressure differences decreased, but remained significant for urban males, rural males and rural females, with sizeable differences for rural samples in particular.
North-south differences in blood pressure in these samples are accounted for only partly by north-south differences in the cited blood pressure-related traits. The role of other traits requires assessment.