Health Disparities in Hypertension: A Comparison between Blacks and Whites in the United States and South Africa
Sharon R. Williams, Purdue University
The presence of disparities in health between blacks and whites in the United States has been well established. The mechanisms and contributing factors, whether biological, cultural, economic or environmental, are still poorly understood and disparities outside of the United States have not been well studied. This research explores differences in blood pressure and hypertension rates in blacks and whites in the United States using data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, and data from South Africa from the World Health Organization’s Study of Global Aging and Adult Health. While both black and white South African groups were higher in measures of blood pressure and hypertension than U.S. groups, the pattern of differences in both South Africa and the United States were similar with systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels significantly (p < 0.05) higher in blacks than in whites.