Cardiovascular risk factors; Cardiovascular system – Diseases – Risk factors; Diabetes; Diabetes mellitus; Discrimination in medical care; Health disparities; Hypertension; Minorities – Medical care; Older women; Racial/Ethnic disparities; Social status – Health aspects


The purpose of this study was to examine racial and ethnic variations in the modifiable CVD risk factors in older women (65 years and older). The study data was drawn from the merged 2003 and 2004 national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). Multinomial regression analyses for indicator outcome and multiple logistic regression analyses for binary outcomes were performed to determine the relationship between each of the six dependent variable and the independent variables. Compared to older white women, older black women had significantly higher odds of hypertension, diabetes and obesity. No significant association was found between Hispanics and hypertension. However Hispanics were found to be more likely to have diabetes and no leisure-time physical activity compared to whites. Hispanics were also found to have lower odds of smoking compared to whites. American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) s were found to have significantly higher odds of diabetes and obesity compared to whites. No significant association between AIANs and smoking was found. Overall, there are striking racial and ethnic differences in the CVD risk factors among older U.S women after controlling for socio-economic status. It is evident from these findings that in designing interventions to reduce cardiovascular risks for elderly women, clearly “one size does not fit all.” These findings highlight the need for development and implementation of appropriate public health programs aimed at these various target communities.