Date Presented 04/21/2023

This research poster discusses inequities in cardiovascular outcomes, adherence to preventive health guidelines, and the impact of systemic barriers due to race on health management. Implications for OT practitioners are discussed.

Primary Author and Speaker: Jaclyn K. Schwartz

Additional Authors and Speakers: Emily Kringle, Kelly Harris, Catherine Hoyt, Suzanne Burns

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to describe inequities in cardiovascular outcomes, adherence to preventative health guidelines, and the impact of systemic barriers due to race on health management.

DESIGN: Secondary data analysis.

METHOD: Data from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a cross-sectional random telephone survey were analyzed to describe the frequency of cardiovascular health conditions, preventative health behaviors, and systemic barriers to health management by race/ethnicity. Analyses were conducted using a QuanCrit lens, which calls on researchers to recognize the centrality of racism in large data and common measures.

RESULTS: Cardiovascular disease affects many Americans. Specifically, 40.6% are diagnosed with hypertension, 36.6% with high cholesterol, 13.7% with diabetes, 5.8% with myocardial infarction, 5.6% with angina, and 4.5% with stroke. Many Americans fail to meet preventative health guidelines. For preventative health guidelines, only 55.8% consume fruit daily, 70.5% consume vegetables daily, 46.5% meet aerobic exercise guidelines, 30.9% meet muscle strengthening guidelines, and 30.3% meet weight guidelines. Across both cardiovascular disease and preventative health behaviors inequities by race/ethnicity were found. Systemic barriers including lack of health care coverage, financial access to physicians, food insecurity, and household incomes below the poverty line were disproportionately experienced by marginalized groups.

CONCLUSION: High cardiovascular disease and poor adherence to preventative health guidelines persists. Occupational therapy practitioners can help people with cardiovascular disease mitigate systemic barriers to engage in preventative health behaviors and reduce their risk. Results suggest that further research to understand these inequities using a QuanCrit lens is needed and that interventions that consider race and racism should be considered.


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