Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health

First Advisor

Dr. C. M.G. Buttery

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol B. Pugh


Background: Hypertension is a major public health concern for African American women. Many studies have shown a greater prevalence of hypertension, as well as physical inactivity, excess weight, and diabetes, in African Americans. Objective: To determine if differences in eating patterns, as measured by Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores, between African American women and other women in the United States are associated with hypertension. Methods: Data were extracted from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANESIII). The sample included 31,189,534 women aged 45 years or greater after survey weights were applied. The majority was White (86.1 %); minority groups included African Americans (10.5%) and Mexican Americans (3.4%). Women were considered to have hypertension if they reported that a doctor diagnosed them. Other predictor variables included age, body mass index, income, education, marital status, residence, health insurance coverage, regu1a.r source of care, smoking history, hypercholesterolemia, history of myocardial infarction, attempted weight loss, and physical activity level. The Cochran Mantel Haenszel (CMH) statistic and logistic regression were used to determine the magnitude of the association of study variables with the outcome. Results: African American women were more likely to have hypertension than White and Mexican American women. Diet, based on the HE1 score, was significantly related to the development of hypertension (CMH chi-square = 428.39, p-value = Conclusions: These findings provide further support the need to established interventions that target this population. The key to prevention is education and promotion of healthier eating habits.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Epidemiology Commons