Red meat consumption and its association with hypertension and hyperlipidaemia among adult Maasai pastoralists of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Ester J. Diarz , Beatrice J. Leyaro, Sokoine L. Kivuyo, Bernard J. Ngowi, Sia E. Msuya, Sayoki G. Mfinanga, Bassirou Bonfoh, Michael J. Mahande
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Red meat is an important dietary source of protein and other essential nutrients. Its high intake has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, including hypertension (HTN) and hyperlipidaemia (HLP). Despite being physically active, the Maasai at Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) depend heavily on animals' products as their staple food with fewer intakes of vegetables or fruits due to restriction from carrying out agricultural activities within the NCA. This study aimed at determining the prevalence of HTN and HLP and their association with red meat consumption among adult Maasai of NCA.


A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in October 2018 using multistage sampling technique. Eight hundred and ninety-four (894) participants enrolled from seven villages in three wards within NCA Data were collected using a modified WHO NCDs-STEPS tool. Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure (BP) measurements, and blood samples for glucose and cholesterol tests were obtained from the study participants. Crude and adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) for factors associated with HTN and HLP were estimated using Ordinal and Bayesian logistic regression models, respectively.


The prevalence of HLP was 23.7 percent. The levels were higher among males than were among the females (29.0% vs. 20.1%, p = 0.002). The prevalence of HTN and pre-HTN (elevated BP) were 9.8 and 37.0 percent, respectively. Both HTN and elevated BP were higher among males than were among females (hypertensive [10.9% vs. 9.0%]; elevated BP [44.0% vs. 32.1%], p<0.001). The prevalence of HLP was significantly associated with level II (PR = 1.56, 95%CrI: 1.10–2.09) and level III (PR = 1.64, 95%CrI: 1.08–2.41) of red meat consumption as opposed to level I.


The prevalence of hyperlipidaemia and elevated BP were high among NCA Maasai. We found a significant association between red meat consumption and hyperlipidaemia. Further follow-up studies are warranted to establish a temporal relationship between red meat consumption and both conditions.