Trends in Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Cardiovascular Health Among US Adults From 1999-2012

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BACKGROUND: In the United States, there are persistent racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. National efforts have focused on reducing these disparities; however, little is known about the long-term trends in racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular health (CVH).

METHODS AND RESULTS: We included 11 285 adults aged ≥20 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys survey cycles 1999/2000 through 2011/2012. CVH includes 7 health factors and behaviors-diet, physical activity, smoking status, body mass index, blood pressure, blood glucose, and total cholesterol-each scored as ideal (2 points), intermediate (1 point), or poor (0 points). Overall CVH is a summation of these scores (range, 0-14) points. Age-adjusted mean CVH scores were calculated by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white, or Mexican American) and sex for each survey cycle. Non-Hispanic black women had significantly lower mean CVH scores as compared with non-Hispanic white women at each survey cycle (difference=0.93; P=0.001 in 2011/2012) and Mexican-American women had significantly lower mean score as compared with non-Hispanic white women at almost all survey cycles (difference=0.71; P=0.02 in 2011/2012). Differences between racial/ethnic groups were smaller for men and were mostly nonsignificant.

CONCLUSIONS: From 1999/2000 to 2011/2012, there were enduring disparities in CVH for non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American women as compared with non-Hispanic white women. Disparities that were present in 1999/2000 were present in 2011/2012, though no racial/ethnic differences became more pronounced over time. These findings provide US nationally representative data to evaluate health factors and behaviors of particular concern regarding racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 22 2017


  • 2020 Strategic Impact Goals
  • cardiovascular health
  • race and ethnicity
  • sex
  • trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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