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Socioeconomic Status Affects Systolic Blood Pressure

Low socioeconomic status and high income correlates with higher and lower SBP, respectively

FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Low socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with increased systolic blood pressure (SBP), and the associations are mediated by increased body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, and higher resting heart rate, according to a study published online July 5 in Hypertension.

Beverly H. Brummett, Ph.D., from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues investigated the extent to which SES is associated with SBP, and whether these associations were mediated by biobehavioral risk factors. More than 15,000 young adults, participants of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, were included in the analysis.

The investigators found SBPs greater than 120 and 140 mm Hg in more than 62 and 12 percent of the participants, respectively. More than 66 percent of the participants were overweight (BMI, 25 kg/m²), and class I obesity (BMI, 30 kg/m²) was seen in 36 percent of participants. Higher household income and being married correlated independently with lower SBP, while higher BMI, greater waist circumference, smoking, and higher alcohol intake correlated independently with higher SBP. Higher education was associated with lower SPB, and the association was mediated by lower BMI, smaller waist circumference, and lower resting heart rate; however, the association did not remain significant after adjusting for these variables. The association between household income and SBP remained significant even after adjustments for all covariates.

"We have shown that indices of lower SES are associated with increased SBP and that increased BMI and waist circumference and higher resting heart rate are significant mediators of these associations," the authors write.

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