Previous reports have shown that low income and low educational levels are related to hypertension. This study also examined neighborhood socioeconomic levels, says lead author Ana V. Diez Roux, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public Health in New York.
Researchers evaluated 8,555 people with follow-up information (6,800 whites and 1,344 blacks) who participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, which evaluated participants' blood pressure and use of blood pressure medication every three years for nine years. At the beginning of the study, all had high blood pressure as defined by systolic pressure of 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or less and diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or less, or had used blood pressure-lowering medication in the past two weeks.
Researchers studied four socioeconomic indicators: personal income, education level, occupation and neighborhood score. Neighborhood scores were based on socioeconomic characteristics of each person's place of residence obtained from 1990 U.S. census data. This included median household income; median residence value; and percentage of households receiving interest, dividends or net rental income. It also included percentage of adults with high school or college education and percentage of adults with ranks of executive, managerial, professional specialty occupations.
Researchers found that the risk of developing hypertension was 95 percent higher for white people who scored lowest in all four socioeconomic indicators compared to white people wit
Contact: Bridgette Mc Neill
American Heart Association