Comparing the income-related inequity of tested prevalence and self-reported prevalence of hypertension in China

Min Su, Yafei Si, Zhongliang Zhou*, Chi Shen, Wanyue Dong, Xiaojing Fan, Xiao Wang, Xiaolin Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hypertension has become a global health challenge given its high prevalence and but low awareness and detection. Whether the actual prevalence of hypertension has been estimated is important, especially for the poor. This study aimed to measure tested prevalence and self-reported prevalence of hypertension and compare the inequity between them in China. Methods: Data were derived from China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) conducted in 2011. By using the multistage, stratified, random sampling method, 12,168 respondents aged 18 or older were identified for analysis. Both tested prevalence (systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg or/and diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg or /and current use any of antihypertensive medication) and self-reported prevalence (ever diagnosed with hypertension by a doctor) were used to measure the prevalence of hypertension. The concentration index was employed to measure the extent of inequality in tested prevalence and self-reported prevalence. A decomposition method, based on a Probit model, was used to analyze income-related horizontal inequity of tested prevalence and self-reported prevalence. Results: The tested prevalence and self-reported prevalence of total respondents were 28.8% [95% CI (28.0%, 29.6%)] and 15.7% [95% CI (15.0%, 16.3%)], and 26.4% [95% CI (25.1%, 27.6%)] and 19.0% [95% CI (17.9%, 20.1%)] in urban areas, and 30.3% [95% CI (29.3%, 31.4%)] and 13.5% [95% CI (12.7%, 14.3%)] in rural areas. The horizontal inequity indexes of mean tested prevalence and self-reported prevalence were - 0.0494 and 0.1203 of total respondents, - 0.0736 and 0.0748 in urban area, and - 0.0177 and 0.0466 in rural area respectively, indicating pro-poor inequity in tested prevalence and pro-rich inequity in self-reported prevalence of hypertension. Economic status, education attainment and age were key factors of the pro-poor inequity in tested prevalence. Economic status, area and age were key factors to explain the poor-rich inequity in self-reported prevalence. Conclusions: This study revealed self-reported prevalence of hypertension was much lower than tested prevalence in China, while a larger gap between self-reported and tested prevalence was found in rural areas. Our study suggested social strategies aiming at narrowing economic gap and regional disparities, reducing educational inequity, and facilitating health conditions of the elderly should be implemented. Finally, awareness raising campaigns to test hypertension in rural area need be strengthened by health education programs and improving the access to public health service, especially for those who do not engage with regular health checkups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018


  • China
  • Decomposition
  • Horizontal inequity
  • Hypertension
  • Income-related health inequality
  • Self-reported prevalence
  • Tested prevalence

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