In the Journals

Hispanic women less aware of CVD, weight status and complications

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January 3, 2014

Hispanic women were significantly less aware of cardiovascular disease and had greater misconceptions about their own weight status compared with non-Hispanic white women, according to data.

“Education about CVD, weight perception, and healthy weight are critical steps in addressing the relationship between obesity and the rise in CVD mortality attributed to it,” Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, MD, of the Center for Women’s Health, division of cardiology and department of medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, and colleagues wrote.

“Focused attention to Hispanic women, including those who are overweight and obese and those who speak primarily Spanish, provides an opportunity to broaden the scope to improve CVD knowledge and to transform current behaviors.”

The researchers analyzed a structured behavioral risk factor surveillance system questionnaire to assess demographics, risk factors and CVD knowledge of 382 Hispanic and 301 non-Hispanic white women who participated in the Heart Health in Action database.

They measured BMI and asked the women, ‘‘Do you consider yourself underweight, normal, or overweight?’’; in addition, the women  looked at the Stunkard silhouette scale, in which the women  chose from underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese silhouettes and identified them as their current, ideal and healthy body image.

Hispanics (27%) were less likely than non-Hispanic whites (88%) to correctly identify the leading cause of death among women (P<.0001). Hispanic women also were less likely to know the symptoms of a myocardial infarction or stroke (58.5% vs. 80.8%, P<.0001).

When answering the self-assessment question, Hispanics (69.4%) were less likely than non-Hispanic whites (82.9 %) to correctly estimate weight (P<.0001). Specifically, in overweight participants, underestimation of weight was higher among Hispanics; 48.5% of overweight Hispanic participants vs. 12.7% of overweight non-Hispanic participants underestimated weight (P<.0001) and 17.2% of obese Hispanic vs. 0% of non-Hispanic obese participants (P=.001) underestimated weight.

Hispanic women were less likely than non-Hispanic white women to choose silhouettes corresponding to the measured BMI (52.73% vs. 69.2%, P<.0001). Additionally, Hispanic participants were more likely to underestimate silhouettes that corresponded to their BMI (42.4% vs. 20.7%, P<.001).

As expected, Hispanics had a greater frequency of diabetes and hypertension as well as a lower frequency of hypercholesterolemia, but they also were less likely to obtain nutritional information from a physician or nurse (P=.0001).

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures

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