Health Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease and High Blood Pressure Among Adults in Rural Underserved Communities


Purpose: This study examined the factors contributing to health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and high blood pressure (HBP) among adults in three rural underserved communities in southeast Georgia. Socioeconomic status as well as geographic location plays a significant role in one’s quality of health outcomes.

Methods: Individuals in three counties in southern Georgia participated in the study.  The study was motivated by review of retrospective data from the 2008 Georgia Cardiovascular Health Initiative (CVHI) database to explain the factors contributing to the incidence of health disparities.  A survey questionnaire was administered by telephone to adult members of households to determine the incidence of health disparities in CVD and HBP among rural African American and White adult populations.  Six hundred respondents participated in the survey but four hundred completed surveys were used in the study, yielding a 67% response rate. Data were analyzed using applied multivariate logistic analysis.

Findings: Findings indicated that older men and male residents in Counties A and B regardless of racial background were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with both HBP and CVD. College educated women were significantly less likely to have HBP. Findings also revealed that married men were significantly less likely to have CVD. Uncontrolled elevated cholesterol levels contributed to the incidence of chronic HBP and CVD. 

Conclusions: The findings add to the current knowledge of research and to the understanding of the critical elements in reducing health disparities among populations in rural underserved communities.

Keywords:  Health disparities, Cardiovascular disease, High blood pressure, Rural underserved communities, African Americans, Whites


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