Relationship Between Cardiovascular Disease Knowledge and Race/Ethnicity, Education ,and Weight Status


Background:Inadequate cardiovascular disease (CVD) knowledge has been cited to account for the imperfect decline in CVD among women over the last 2 decades.

Hypothesis:Due to concerns that at-risk women might not know the leading cause of death or symptoms of a heart attack, our goal was to assess the relationship between CVD knowledge race/ethnicity, education, and body mass index (BMI).

Methods: Using a structured questionnaire, CVD knowledge, socio-demographics, risk factors, and BMI were evaluated in 681 women.

Results: Participants included Hispanic, 42.1% (n = 287); non-Hispanic white (NHW), 40.2% (n = 274); nonHispanic black(NHB), 7.3% (n = 50); and Asian/Pacific Islander (A/PI), 8.7% (n = 59). Average BMI was 26.3 ±6.1 kg/m2. Hypertension was more frequent among overweight (45%) and obese (62%) than normal weight (24%) (P < 0.0001), elevated total cholesterol was more frequent among overweight (41%) and obese (44%) than normal weight (30%) (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively), and diabetes was more frequent among obese (25%) than normal weight (5%) (P < 0.0001). Knowledge of the leading cause of death and symptoms of a heart attack varied by race/ethnicity and education (P < 0.001) but not BMI. Concerning the leading cause of death among women in the United States, 87.6% (240/274) NHW answered correctly compared to64% (32/50) NHB (P < 0.05), 28.3% (80/283) Hispanic (P < 0.0001), and 55.9% (33/59) A/PI (P < 0.001). Among participants with≤12 years of education, 21.2% knew the leading cause of death and 49.3% knew heart attack symptoms vs 75.7% and 75.5%, respectively, for>12 years (both P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Effective prevention strategies for at-risk populations need to escalate CVD knowledge and awareness among the undereducated and minority women.

Researchers: Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, MD; Lorraine Mull, MS; Robert R. Sciacca, Eng ScD; Sharon Akabas, PhD; Laura E. Flink, MD, MS; Nathalie Moise, MD; Tracy K. Paul, MD; Nicole E. Dumas, MD; Michael L. Bier; Deirdre Mattina,D.

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