Kaiser Pasadena Study Reports Certain Ethnic Groups Have a Greater Chance of High Blood Pressure

Friday, February 16, 2018 | 12:51 am

A new study by Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena shows people who are African-American, American Indian or native Alaskan, Asian, or native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders have a significantly greater chance of developing hypertension than people who are white or Hispanic who are in the same weight category or live in neighborhoods with similar education levels.

The study, which included more than 4 million people across the United States, was published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

“This research shines new light on how pervasive the racial or ethnic disparities are in hypertension, and that the prevalence of hypertension among American Indians, native Hawaiians and Asians is nearly as high as that of African-Americans,” says Dr. Deborah Rohm Young, from Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, lead author of the study.

Young added results from the study could provide information leading to better intervention measures to reduce hypertension, “not only by race or ethnicity but possibly by weight category or social economic status.”

Kaiser Permanente says the research adds to understanding how weight and economic status are associated with the prevalence of hypertension among non-white racial and ethnic groups, compared to whites.

Researchers analyzed the electronic health records of over 4.06 million overweight or obese adults from the Patient Outcomes Research to Advance Learning network, which includes Kaiser Permanente patients in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Washington; HealthPartners patients in Minnesota and Wisconsin; and Denver Health patients in Colorado.

About half of the patients were white, about 25 percent were Hispanic, 13 percent were Asian,11 percent were African-American, 1.5 percent were native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander, and 0.6 percent were American Indian/native Alaskan.

Researchers found that among this group of overweight or obese adults, 36.9 percent had a diagnosis of hypertension.

The age-standardized prevalence of hypertension was:

• 46.0 percent among African-Americans
• 44.7 percent among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders
• 40.4 percent among Asians
• 37.3 percent among American Indian/native Alaskans
• 34.9 percent among whites
• 34.3 percent among Hispanics

The differences in hypertension prevalence between whites and other race/ethnicities did not substantially differ by neighborhood education level.

Patients were categorized as overweight or obese class 1, 2 or 3, based on body mass index (or BMI), which is weight divided by height squared. For example, a five-foot four-inch person who weighed 155 pounds was in the overweight category, and at 210 pounds was in the obese class 2 category.

Researchers found that hypertension prevalence was five to 10 percent higher at each successive increase in overweight or obese weight category for all races and ethnicities.

The results also showed that maintaining a lower weight remains a key factor in preventing hypertension regardless of race and ethnicity, says Dr. Michael A. Horberg, executive director of Research and Community Benefit and Medicaid for the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group and the executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute.

“Other factors are also at work, and more research needs to be conducted to discover the many factors that may contribute to hypertension prevalence across racial/ethnic groups,” Horberg said.

For more information about Kaiser Permanente Southern California Research and Evaluation, visit www.kp.org/research.








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