Background: Obesity has been associated with many co-occurring coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors as well as CHD mortality. These associations have been shown to vary between African-American and white sample populations.
Methods: The authors examined whether obesity co-occurs with several CHD risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)), and estimated the 10-year risk for CHD in the North Carolina WISEWOMAN (Well Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) study sample. This sample includes low-income African-American and white women (> or = 50 years of age).
Results: Among white women (n = 1,284), 34% were overweight (BMI = 25.0-29.99 kg/m(2)) and 35% obese (BMI > or = 30 kg/m(2)); among African-American women (n = 754), 28% were overweight and 59% obese. Among obese and nonobese African-American women, the prevalence of three or more co-occurring risk factors was similar (obese = 17.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 13.9, 21.6) and nonobese = 13.3% (95% CI: 8.7, 17.8)). By contrast, the prevalence among white women was greater among the obese (26.9% (95% CI: 22.9, 31.0)) than the nonobese (13.0% (95% CI: 9.7, 16.2)).
Conclusions: The differences between and within African-American and white women may be accounted for by the high levels of HDL-C among obese and nonobese African-American women.