A Simple Explanation for Higher Hypertension Risk in African Americans

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A diet high in fried and processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages is a major risk factor for higher rates of high blood pressure (hypertension) and cardiovascular disease in black Americans compared to white Americans, according to a report on the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study.

For the report, published in JAMA, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham identified factors associated with an increased risk for developing high blood pressure over 10 years in 6,897 people — 1,807 black and 5,090 white — over age 45. Hypertension raises heart disease risk, and rates of cardiovascular disease are significantly higher in African Americans.

According to the researchers, other factors that contribute to racial disparity in high blood pressure rates include:

  • Salt intake (in men and women)
  • Education level (in men and women)
  • Obesity (in women)
  • Waist size (in women)

Sourced from: JAMA