MINORITY HEALTH: Study Finds ‘Persistent Inequalities’ Statewide
White and Latino females living in the Sacramento region have higher blood pressure than their male counterparts, predisposing them to heart disease and stroke, according to a study released today by the state Department of Health Services and the University of California-San Francisco. Researchers analyzed data collected between 1984 and 1996 from 36,004 California adults to examine cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, physical activity, smoking and obesity. The study found that 33.6% of female Latinos and 26.1% of white women had hypertension, compared with 22.2% of white men. "(The female Latino) population is not one that traditionally we have been concerned about as far as high blood pressure is concerned," said Sacramento health officer Dr. Glennah Trochet, noting that the study results would influence future efforts to create new prevention programs.
A Bleak Picture
Across the state, "the research found persistent inequalities in health outcomes for African Americans and Latinos." While diabetes affects 5.5% of California adults, the number jumps to 14.5% among African Americans and 12.9% among Latinos in California. Further, the study found that "residents of Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, El Dorado, Nevada and Amador counties rank fourth among 10 regions in the state in the number of adults who are overweight." Noting that 85,000 Californians die each year from heart disease and stroke, the Sacramento Bee reports that the deaths, which cost $14.1 billion annually "are mostly preventable." Study author Jeannie Gazzaniga said that "[b]ased on these study results, we need to re-evaluate if we are being effective. We might want to look at our access to health care for preventive services" (Griffith, 1/6).