Black/White Disparity in Self-Reported Hypertension

The Role of Nativity Status

Hypertension affects over 65 million adults 18 years and older, and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have reported that non-Hispanic blacks have a higher prevalence of hypertension than non-Hispanic whites. Few studies, however, have considered the role of nativity status (defined as U.S.- or foreign-born) in health outcomes for non-Hispanic blacks or whites. This paper examines the association between race and self-reported hypertension and whether this association varies with nativity status. The authors used data from the National Health Interview Survey 1997–2005. The study found:

  • Non-Hispanic blacks had a higher prevalence of self-reported hypertension than their white counterparts. The odds were greater for those 46 years and older.
  • The association between race and self-reported hypertension did not differ by nativity status.
  • The odds of reporting hypertension among foreign-born blacks were greater if they had lived for more than 10 years in the United States.
  • Among non-Hispanic blacks, women were more likely to report hypertension than men, while the opposite was true for whites.

The results suggest that there may be something deleterious to foreign-born non-Hispanic black people’s health after living in the United States for a number of years.