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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Feb 11;54(5):113-7.

Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in multiple risk factors for heart disease and stroke--United States, 2003.


Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death, respectively, in the United States. Certain modifiable risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, tobacco use, obesity, and lack of exercise, are the main targets for primary and secondary prevention of heart disease and stroke. A substantial proportion of the population has multiple risk factors, increasing their likelihood of cardiovascular disease. To assess the prevalence of multiple risk factors for heart disease and stroke and to identify disparities in risk status among population subgroups, CDC analyzed data from the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that approximately 37% of the survey population had two or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke and that considerable disparities in risk factors existed among socioeconomic groups and racial/ethnic populations. To decrease morbidity and mortality from heart disease and stroke, public health programs should improve identification of persons with multiple risk factors and focus interventions on those populations disproportionately affected.

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