HealthDay News — Trends in racial/ethnic and nativity disparities in cardiovascular health decreased from 1988 to 2014, with the decrease attributed to worsening cardiovascular health among whites, according to a study published online March 20 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Arleen F. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues examined racial/ethnic and nativity differences in Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) health factors and behaviors among adults aged 25 years and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988 to 2014).

The researchers found that the rates of optimal cardiovascular health remained below 40, 25, and 15 percent among whites, Mexican-Americans, and African-Americans, respectively. The disparities in optimal cardiovascular health persisted between whites and African-Americans, but they decreased over time. 

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Among adults aged 25 to 44 years and those aged 65 years or older, the percentage of African-Americans with optimal LS7 scores was 22.8 and 8.0 percentage points lower, respectively, than that of whites in 1988 to 1994. These differences decreased to 10.6 and 3.8 percentage points, respectively, by 2011 to 2014. Smaller disparities in optimal LS7 scores were seen between whites and Mexican-Americans; these also decreased over time. These decreases were attributed to reductions in optimal cardiovascular health among whites over all age groups and periods.

“Multifaceted interventions are needed to address declining population health and persistent health disparities,” the authors write.

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