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Trends in heart disease risk factors among adults in Mississippi delta

Incidence of , diabetes, and obesity – all risk factors associated with heart disease – increased among adults living in the Region between 2001 and 2010, according to a report from researchers at the State Department of Health. The study also reveals racial differences associated with each risk.

Data from the 2001 to 2010 Mississippi Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were analyzed for 11,978 residents of Region – an 18-county region covering about 11,000 square miles of the northwest part of the state between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers.

Researchers observed significant linear trends from 2001 to 2010 in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol among adults living in the region, noting some racial differences. The study reveals the prevalence of obesity and high cholesterol significantly increased among both blacks and whites, while the prevalence of diabetes significantly increased among blacks but not whites. Also noted was a significant decrease in smoking among whites but not among blacks and an increase in physical inactivity among whites.

During the 9-year period, the report finds an annual percentage increase of 4.22 percent in the occurrence of high cholesterol, a 3.65 percent increase in obesity, and a 3.54 percent increase in diabetes among blacks and whites. Among the black population, the study reveals a 3.41 percent increase in the prevalence of high cholesterol, a 3.48 percent increase in obesity, and a 4.96 percent increase in the occurrence of diabetes. Among the whites, the study reports significant increases in high blood pressure – a 2.18 percent rise. High cholesterol rose by 4.78 percent, obesity by 4.18 percent, and physical inactivity by 3.06 percent. The report also highlights a 1.99 percent decrease in smoking among whites but no noted decrease among blacks was found.

“The linear trends in CVD risk factors observed in this study have important public health implications because CVD is the leading cause of death in Mississippi Delta,” the researchers write.

In 2010, Mississippi had the highest prevalence of obesity in the nation, and the Mississippi Delta had the highest rate in the state. Obesity is a risk factor that may lead to other risk factors and is linked to cardiovascular disease.


Trends in Major Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease Among Adults in the Mississippi Delta Region, Mississippi Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2001-2010, Vincent L. Mendy, DrPH, MPH, CPH, Preventing Chronic Disease, published 19 February 2015.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)