The Tonga cardiovascular and metabolic study: Design, demographic aspects and medical findings

S. A. Finau, J. M. Stanhope, I. A M Prior, Jill G Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In 1973 a population-based study was conducted in Nuku'alofa (the more Westernised and urban capital) and Foa Island (a more traditional and rural area), Kingdom of Tonga. Demographic data revealed no significant age, sex and racial differences between the two samples; differences in religion, martial status and occupation are discussed. Alcohol was consumed only in Nuku'alofa, but the prevalence of tobacco and kava use was higher in Foa. Serum uric acid and the urinary sodium:potassium ratio are higher in Nuku'alofa among both sexes. Fasting plasma glucose and serum triglycerides were higher among male urban dwellers; however, serum cholesterol was higher in female rural residents. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus, rheumatic and congenital heart disease showed no urban-rural gradient. However, hypertension was significantly more common in Nuku'alofa (10.4 per cent) than Foa (6.1 per cent). Tinea in both sexes and filariasis in men was more common in Foa. These results, while not conclusive, are suggestive of certain consequences of the manifest differences in the degree of westernisation between urban and rural Tonga. Both scientific and practical planning issues raised by these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalCommunity Health Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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