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Looking At High Blood Pressure Control Among Blacks, Weight-Loss Methods

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The following summarizes studies published in the January issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association.

* "A Proposed New Model of Hypertensive Treatment Behavior in African-Americans" (.pdf): In the report, Jennifer Middleton, assistant medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's St. Margaret Bloomfield-Garfield Family Health Center, suggests that the reason why blacks have poorer high blood pressure control than whites is related to insufficient adoption of treatment regimens, not because of differences in education levels, general knowledge of the condition or access to care. Low treatment adherence among blacks with high blood pressure in turn could be related to beliefs among blacks "that are inconsistent with the biomedical disease model of hypertension," the report says.

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According to the report, some blacks think of the condition as an "episodic and symptomatic disease" rather than a "chronically progressive and silent condition." In addition, some blacks think the main cause of high blood pressure is stress or is related to "being black" and experiencing racism or other cultural pressures, the report says. The report suggests that public health workers and care providers should identify such health beliefs in an effort to improve blood pressure control among blacks (Middleton, Journal of the National Medical Association, January 2009).

* "Disparities by Ethnicity and Socioeconomic: Status in the Use of Weight Loss Treatments"(.pdf): The study examines the differences in weight-loss practices between whites and ethnic minorities and lower- and higher-socioeconomic status individuals. A telephone survey conducted from November 2005 to January 2006 asked 3,500 U.S. adults about their weight-loss practices and beliefs. Seven methods of weight loss were examined, including medically supervised weight-loss programs, commercial programs and the use of over-the-counter diet pills.

Blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to report using over-the-counter weight-loss pills and less likely than whites to report use of commercial weight-loss programs. Blacks also were more likely than whites to report use of medically supervised programs. In addition, individuals of a higher socioeconomic status were more likely to report self-directed weight-loss attempts than those of a lower socioeconomic status. Higher-socioeconomic status individuals also were more likely than their counterparts to report using commercial programs and less likely to use over-the-counter diet pills (Gilden Tsai et al., Journal of the National Medical Association, January 2009).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.