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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2006 Nov;15(9):1000-8.

Racial/Ethnic and socioeconomic differences in multiple risk factors for heart disease and stroke in women: behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 2003.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.



To examine racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in multiple risk factors for heart disease and stroke among women.


Data from 153,466 adult women in the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a telephone survey of U.S. adults, were used to assess the prevalence of multiple (i.e., >or=2 of diabetes, current smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or physical inactivity) risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Descriptive and multivariable analyses assessed differences in multiple risk factors among racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups.


More than one third (36.5%) of all women had multiple risk factors. The age-standardized prevalence of multiple risk factors was lowest in whites and Asians. After adjustment for age, income, education, and health coverage, the odds for multiple risk factors was greater in black (OR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.42-1.64) and Native American women (1.36, 95% CI = 1.11-1.67) and lower for Hispanic women (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.76-0.91) compared with white women. Prevalence estimates and odds of multiple risk factors increased with age; decreased with education, income, and employment; and were lower in those with no health coverage. Smoking was more common in younger women, whereas older women were more likely to have medical conditions (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes) and be physically inactive.


Over one third of U.S. women have two or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Prevention programs that target risk reduction are especially critical to decrease the burden of heart disease and stroke in these higher-risk U.S. women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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