, Volume 28, Issue 2 Supplement, pp 524-528,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Jun 2013

Racial/Ethnic Differences in Cardiovascular Risk Factors Among Women Veterans



Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, accounting for 24.5 % of all deaths among women. Earlier research has demonstrated racial/ethnic differences in prevalence of cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors.


To empirically examine the prevalence of CVD risk factors among a national sample of women Veterans by race/ethnicity, providing the first portrait of women Veterans’ cardiovascular care needs.


Cross-sectional, national population-based telephone survey of 3,611 women Veterans.


Women Veterans were queried about presence of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, tobacco use and physical activity. Four racial/ethnic categories were created: Hispanic, Non-Hispanic White (White), Non-Hispanic Black (Black), and Other. Logistic regressions were conducted for each risk factor to test for racial/ethnic differences, controlling for age (under 40 vs. 40 and over).


Racial/ethnic differences in CVD risk factors persisted after adjusting for age. Black women Veterans were more likely to report a diagnosis of diabetes (OR: 2.58, 95 % CI: 1.07, 6.21) or hypertension (OR: 2.31, 95 % CI: 1.10, 4.83) and be obese (OR: 2.06, 95 % CI: 1.05, 3.91) than White women Veterans. Hispanic women Veterans were more likely than White women Veterans to report diabetes (OR: 4.20, 95 % CI: 1.15, 15.39) and daily smoking (OR: 3.38, 95 % CI: 1.01, 11.30), but less likely to report a hypertension diagnosis (OR 0.21, 95% CI: 0.07, 0.64) or to be obese (OR: 0.39, 95 % CI: 0.18, 0.81).


Among women Veterans, CVD risks vary by race/ethnicity. Black women Veterans consistently face higher CVD risk compared to White women Veterans, while results are mixed for Hispanic women Veterans.