Minority Women Less Aware of Heart Disease Than White Women, Study Says
U.S. minority women are less aware than white women of their risk for heart problems and stroke, although they are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Women's Health, Reuters reports. For the study, researchers conducted telephone interviews among more than 1,000 women nationwide and compared the results with similar studies conducted in 1997. Researchers asked participants about their knowledge and awareness of risk factors for heart disease and about healthy lifestyle changes. The study found that 57% of women were aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, compared with 30% in 1997. In addition, the study found that 31% of black women and 29% of Hispanic women were aware of heart disease, compared with 68% of white women -- a disparity that has not changed since 1997. The study also found that all women were confused about strategies to prevent heart disease, such as diet, and about how aspirin, hormones and supplements might help prevent the disease. Lori Mosca, study co-author and director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said it is "particularly important" to "target women who need the information the most" because "previous research has shown that awareness is linked to preventive action." Mosca also said that although "tremendous progress has been made in raising awareness of heart disease in women," there is still a "challenge to reduce ethnic disparities and maximize knowledge among all racial and ethnic groups." Heart disease is the leading cause of death among U.S. women, and about 500,000 women annually die of the disease, with black women having the highest mortality rate, Reuters reports (Reuters, 2/4).
The study is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat to view the report.