The aim of this study is to identify lifestyle factors related to hypertension in man and woman workers, and to investigate age and gender differences in the relationships of the factors. From 6,000 civil service employees (4,937 men and 1,063 women) aged 40-69 years, information on lifestyle-related factors such as stress, exercise habits, preference for salty taste, alcohol drinking and smoking habits, and body mass index, as well as age and family history of hypertension was obtained through self-administered questionnaires in 1997. Hypertension was defined as either a systolic blood pressure a 140mmHg, a diastolic blood pressure ≧ 90 mmHg, or undergoing treatment for hypertension, and was present by 37.0% in men and 19.6% in women. Only body mass index was a significant lifestyle-related risk factor common to both genders with an odds ratio and its 95% confidence interval in parentheses of 2.2 (2.0 - 2.5) for men and 3.2 (2.3 - 4.6) for women. Men and women who preferred salty taste showed multivariate adjusted odds ratios of 0.9 (0.8 - 1.1) and 1.5 (1.1 - 2.2) for hypertension, respectively. In the stratified subanalysis, women aged 50 years and over had a significant odds ratio of 2.7 (1.5 - 4.9), whereas women aged 40-49 years and men of all age classes failed to show significant relationships. Salt intake was suggested to be a key factor for hypertension particularly for women after menopause.
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