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Hypertension rates higher in states with low-income households

States with low and high percentages of the population living below the have high incidences of self-reported , report researchers.

According to the study, states with an average household income of $43,225 or less and states with 18.7 percent or more of residents living below the poverty line had a higher occurrence of hypertension than states with wealthier residents. According to the report, the prevalence of self-reported hypertension was 32.8 percent in the United States in 2011. The occurrence varied by state, ranging from 24.1 percent in Utah to 40.9 percent in Alaska.

Researchers used the 2011 to examine whether state socioeconomic status (SES) indicators predict the occurrence of self-reported hypertension. Quintiles of state , unemployment rate among the population aged 16 to 64 years, and the proportion of the population under the national poverty line were used as the proxy for state SES. Hypertension status was determined by the question “Have you ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that you have high blood pressure?”

The report also reveals interactions between state and individual SES and demographic variables. Women and adults who were unable to work were more vulnerable to the effects of disadvantageous state SES on hypertension risk.

“Prevention and control of hypertension are key elements in CDC’s state program for chronic disease prevention,” the study suggests. “Identification of risk factors of hypertension, at the individual and macro level, could guide efforts to optimize public health interventions. Together with other reports underscoring the importance of neighborhood characteristics, this study further suggests that hypertension risk may be influenced by societal structures, institutions, norms, and policies that may underlie geographic differences in chronic disease risk.”


State Socioeconomic Indicators and Self-Reported Hypertension Among US Adults, 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Amy Z. Fan, MD, PhD; Sheryl M. Strasser, PhD; Xingyou Zhang, PhD; Jing Fang, MD; Carol G. Crawford, PhD, Preventing Chronic Disease, DOI: 10.5888/pcd12.140353, published 26 February 2015.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)