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Colter Mitchell: Biological consequences of poverty

Arline T. Geronimus photo

A Note on the Measure of Hypertension in HHANES

Publication Abstract

Geronimus, Arline T., Lisa Neidert, and John Bound. "A Note on the Measure of Hypertension in HHANES." PSC Research Report No. 89-169. November 1989.

Using data from the HHANES, we found the rates of clinical high blood pressure to be extremely low for a sample of Mexican American and Puerto Rican women. The prevalence rates were 1/4 to 1/5 the rates found for a comparable sample of white women from NHANES II. These finding are discrepant with the little that is known about hypertension prevalence among Hispanics and with estimates of hypertension prevalence for Mexicans and Puerto Ricans drawn from NHANES II. While our HHANES sample women had lower rates of clinical high blood pressure, they reported hypertension histories in excess of whites. Medicine usage was low, indicating that effective treatment cannot explain the disparity. The discrepancies remained when we altered our sample specifications and clinical high blood pressure measure. Few doctors performed the majority of blood pressure readings in our HHANES sample. This may have been statistically inefficient. The discrepancies noted suggest that the HHANES clinical high blood pressure data for women may be unreliable.

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