Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and their Relationship to Cardiovascular Risk Factors in African Americans and Non-African Americans With Above-Optimal Blood Pressure

Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
Journal of Community Health (Impact Factor: 1.28). 05/2005; 30(2):107-24. DOI: 10.1007/s10900-004-1095-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This report describes cross-sectional associations among physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, dietary habits, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in a large sample (n = 810) of African Americans (n = 279) and non-African Americans (n = 531) with above-optimal blood pressure. Participants in PREMIER, a clinical trial for blood pressure control through lifestyle approaches, underwent baseline assessments to determine physical activity level, cardiorespiratory fitness category, dietary intake, and CVD risk factors. Mean levels of body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, daily percent calories from fat and saturated fat, daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and daily fiber intake were examined across three physical activity levels and two fitness categories. Hypertension status was also assessed. Data were stratified by sex and ethnicity. For all participants, those in the low fitness category had higher BMI levels. Total cholesterol was lower in African American women in the high fitness category. Mean values of more than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables were reported by non-African American women and African American men in the high activity category. Higher intake of dietary fiber was found for non-African American women at the high activity level, with a similar trend observed for African American women. Future work examining these associations prospectively should include sufficient minority representation to enhance generalizability to all population groups and determine the beneficial effects from increased physical activity and improved cardiorespiratory fitness.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Previous work examining differences in hypertension across ethnic groups employ race as the principal variable. While differences in hypertension have been identified across racial groups, there is great variation between ethnic groups amongst racial groupings that could mask differences in hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. In light of Canada's ethnic diversity, research aimed at identifying specific groups that are at a health disadvantage is essential for understanding the health of the overall population. In addition, this research would be beneficial for creating programs and policies aimed at reducing or eliminating these disparities. Since CVD is the leading cause of mortality in Canada and hypertension is one of the most significant and modifiable risk factors for CVD, it is important to move past crude classifications based on race and examine ethnic group differences. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between ethnicity and hypertension in Canada, while employing more narrow classifications for ethnicity than previous studies. In addition, because ethnicity has been shown to be representative of an individual's social experience, this study also aims to investigate whether this relationship can be explained by one or all of the following variable: socioeconomic status, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status, daily alcohol consumption or acculturation. Methods. This study used the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, cycle 2.1 to compare 29 different ethnic groups in Canada on whether they had high blood pressure that had been diagnosed by a health professional. Associations were examined using logistic regression. Subsequent logistic regression analyses included socioeconomic status, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status, daily alcohol consumption and acculturation to test for the effect of each of these variables on the relationship between ethnicity and hypertension. Results. Ukrainians, Chinese, Portuguese, South Asians, Aboriginals, Blacks, Filipinos and South East Asians were found to have significantly higher odds of having high blood pressure than Canadians (OR's = 1.50, 1.56, 2.72, 1.38, 1.36, 1.66, 2.21 & 2.24 respectively, p<.001). In addition, the only significant mediating effects were between SES and Aboriginals as well as obesity and Aboriginals. None of the other independent variables accounted for >10% of the risk experienced by the ethnic groups that were significantly associated with hypertension. Interpretation: The odds of having high blood pressure in Canada varies considerably across ethnic groups within racial groups indicating previous research is not specific enough to inform policy and program development. Because this study was not able to explain this relationship using the sociodemographic and lifestyle factors mentioned above, future research should be done to determine what places certain ethnic groups at a greater risk in order to tailor interventions aimed at reducing high blood pressure that are suited to the specific needs of each cultural group.
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease rates are higher in African American women and they have more cardiovascular risk factors than other groups. Although one of the most important cardiovascular risk reduction behaviors is physical activity, few studies have focused on African American women's cardiovascular risk and physical activity. Therefore, the aims of this descriptive pilot study were to describe modifiable cardiovascular risks and to explore physical activity, as measured by pedometer steps, in younger (n = 22; aged 21-45 years) and older (n = 22; aged 46-75 years) community-dwelling African American women. The total number of pedometer steps recorded in 3 days ranged from 1,153 to 52,742. Day 1 steps were significantly different than day 2 and day 3 steps across the sample (F = 5.30, df = 1, P < .05). Risk factors were similar across the age groups. There was no relationship between the 3-day total or average number of daily steps and cardiovascular risks. Thus, interventions may be used in both age groups, with modifications for cohort effects of approach and health status. Given the disparities in cardiovascular disease and the Healthy People 2010 national health objectives, it is important to continue a variety of efforts to assist adult women of all ages to increase their physical activity and to decrease other CVD risks.
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