The relationship between health status and blood pressure in urban African Americans

Bruce R. DeForge, David L. Stewart, Margo DeVoe-Weston, Lennox Graham, Jeanne Charleston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


African Americans have higher rates of hypertension and poorer health status than their white counterparts. This study assessed the relationship between health status, cardiovascular risk factors, and measured blood pressure. Free blood pressure screenings were performed at businesses and organizations located in west Baltimore. All individuals with cardiovascular risk factors were offered health education. Also, participants with a measured blood pressure of ≥140/90 mm Hg were referred for free medical treatment. Participants completed a questionnaire that included demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, the Medical Outcomes Study SF 36, and two tests on cholesterol and heart disease knowledge. A total of 1389 African-American men and women were screened; 20% were found to have high normal blood pressure and 31% had stage 1 hypertension or higher. Those with hypertension reported lower physical functioning and poorer general health than those without high blood pressure. When compared with US normative data, participants reported higher levels in vitality and physical and emotional role functioning, more bodily pain, and poorer general health, but they were similar in physical functioning, social functioning, and mental health. Preliminary data suggest that hypertension does have an effect on health function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-664
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • Health status
  • Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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