Journal Article

Ethnicity, Education, and Blood Pressure in Cuba

Pedro Ordunez, Jose Luis Bernal Munoz, Alfredo Espinosa-Brito, Luis Carlos Silva and Richard S. Cooper

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 162, issue 1, pages 49-56
Published in print July 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online July 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwi163
Ethnicity, Education, and Blood Pressure in Cuba

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The causes of variation in hypertension risk by ethnicity and educational level are not well understood. To gain further insight into this issue in a nonindustrialized country, a population-based sample of 1,667 persons aged 15–74 years was recruited in Cienfuegos, Cuba. In this 2001–2002 study, interviewers classified 29% of participants as Black or mulatto and 71% as White. Educational attainment was stratified at the median number of school years. Compared with White women, non-White women had higher blood pressures (3.0/1.7, systolic blood pressure/diastolic blood pressure) and a higher prevalence of hypertension (24%, 95% confidence interval: 20, 28 vs. 15%, 95% confidence interval: 12, 18). Among men, no differences in blood pressure were observed by ethnicity. Men with a lower level of education had a 14% lower risk of hypertension compared with men above the median. However, women with a lower level of education had a 24% increase in risk. The effect of education was equally strong among Whites alone and when occupation was used for stratification. No variation was observed for body mass index or self-reported health behaviors by ethnicity or education. The narrower ethnic gradient in hypertension prevalence than seen in North America and the gender-specific social status effect, in the context of relatively equal living conditions, suggest that the influence of psychosocial stressors may be specific to cultural contexts.

Keywords: blood pressure; body mass index; Cuba; education; ethnic groups; health behavior; hypertension; stress; CI, confidence interval; DBP, diastolic blood pressure; SBP, systolic blood pressure

Journal Article.  4539 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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