Higher BMI, LDL and salt consumption observed among younger Black women vs. older
Younger Black women had higher BMI, LDL levels, salt intake and fast food consumption compared with older Black women, according to research presented at the virtual American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.
“As a society we must do better to make healthy food more accessible and affordable,” Nishant Vatsa, MD, resident in internal medicine at Emory University Hospital, told Healio. “There is a lot of hidden salt — salt that people do not realize is in their food — in what we eat. This is especially true in fast food. Unfortunately, there are areas of this country where the only food that is accessible or affordable is fast food — these areas are commonly referred to as food deserts. We should address this by ensuring everyone has access to grocery stores and through community efforts like community gardens.
“Preventive care that focuses on cardiovascular disease and associated risk factors must be implemented early in Black women — as early as late teens or early 20s,” Vatsa told Healio. “To do this, we must make CVD preventive care more accessible and we must increase awareness of CVD in Black women among providers, particularly primary care providers who provide preventive care.”
For this analysis, researchers included 945 participants in the 10,000 Women Community Screening Project in the Atlanta to determine when obesity, hypertension and hyperlipidemia appeared in Black women. Socioeconomic factors such as education, income and health insurance; lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and exercise; and CVD factors were collected. Participants were categorized into three age cohorts (20-39 years, 40-59 years and 60 years).
According to the study, mean BMI was highest in the group aged 40 to 59 years compared with the other two groups (P < .05), and systolic BP increased with age (P < .001).
Researchers reported that younger Black women had lower total cholesterol levels (P < .001) and higher LDL levels compared with middle-aged Black women (P < .001) and older Black women (P = .01); however, older Black women had higher HDL levels compared with either of the younger cohorts (P = .03).
According to the study, more Black women aged 60 years or older limited their salt intake (P .001) and ate less fast food compared with either of the younger cohorts (P < .001).
Researchers reported no difference in smoking between any of the three age groups.
“Providers should be having in-depth conversations about nutrition and exercise with their patients during each visit and following up with their patients on their lifestyle habits. This may include having patients keep a food/exercise diary to bring to visits to go over with their providers,” Vatsa told Healio. “Additionally, primary care providers should try to understand the barriers their patients have to accessing healthy nutrition or partaking in adequate exercise. By understanding these barriers, providers will be better equipped in making personalized cardiovascular disease risk-mitigating lifestyle plans for their patients. I have also found that talking about common-sense risk mitigating strategies, like nutrition and exercise, helps build the doctor-patient therapeutic relationship that is central to great care.”