Blood Pressure, Glycemia, and Body Habitus among a sample of African Americans in Central Ohio

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The Ohio State University

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Chronic degenerative conditions increase as physiological function declines over the life span. Today, coronary artery and cerebrovascular diseases, malignant neoplasms, and noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus are leading causes of morbidity and mortality across affluent and underdeveloped societies. Elevated blood pressure, plasma glucose, and body mass index (BMI) are risk factors for these outcomes. In the USA, African Americans show more cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity than European Americans. One reason for such disparities may be physiological differences, while others may include sociocultural differences. To explore these influences, we examine blood pressure, glycemia, fat patterning, and body habitus among a sample of 114 older middle-class African Americans residing in Central Ohio during 1995. Our results indicate that BMI and waist/hip ratio positively associated with elevated post-load glucose. Additionally, elevated post-load glucose was significantly associated with upper arm circumference and triceps, subscapular and suprailiac skinfolds. Subscapular skinfolds and abdominal depth were significantly associated with elevated fasting glucose. Abdominal depth predicted both elevated fasting and post-load glucose as well as systolic hypertension. SBP predicted elevated fasting and post-load glucose in our sample. However, no measured variable was significantly related to diastolic hypertension. Our participants represent middle-class African Americans residing in Central Ohio. Their fasting glucose, two-hour post-load glucose, BMI, and wait-hip ratio are above cut-points suggesting diabetes and obesity. These results support the conclusion that such risk factors affect those of higher socioeconomic status as well as the more commonly portrayed poorer classes of African Americans.



African American, Health Disparities, Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension, Middle-Class