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Prevalence of hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Public Health January 1, 2020

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Research Areas

PAIR Center Research Team


OBJECTIVES: Elevated blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is a significant cause of cardiovascular disease. We aimed to estimate national and zonal prevalence of hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria to help guide targeted public health programs.

STUDY DESIGN: This is a systematic review and synthesis of publicly available epidemiologic data on hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria.

METHODS: We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Global Health, and Africa Journals Online for studies on the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria published between 1990 and 2018. We used a random-effects meta-analysis (Freeman-Tukey double arcsine transformation) and meta-regression model to estimate the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria in 1995 and 2015.

RESULTS: In total, 13 studies (n = 16,981) were retrieved. The pooled crude prevalence of hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria was 38% (95% confidence interval: 26-51), with prevalence in women slightly higher (42%, 23-63) compared with men (38%, 20-58). The prevalence was highest in the South-south (53%, 38-68) and lowest in the South-west (3%, 2-4) and North-east (4%, 2-7). Urban dwellers had a significantly higher rate (52%, 24-79) compared with rural dwellers (10%, 6-15). We estimated over 8.2 million persons (age-adjusted prevalence 16.5%) aged 20 years or more had hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria in 1995, increasing to 21.9 million persons (age-adjusted prevalence 25.9%) in 2015.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest a high prevalence of hypercholesterolemia in Nigeria. Urbanization, lifestyles, diets, and culture appear to be driving an increasing prevalence, especially among women. Population-wide awareness and education on reducing elevated cholesterol levels and associated risks should be prioritized.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHBLI)
World Health Organization (WHO)