Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among American Indians. The objective of this study was to assess trends in CVD and CVD risk factors among American Indians in Montana.
Methods: In 1999 and 2003, 1000 American Indian adults aged > or =18 years living on or near the seven reservations in Montana were interviewed each year using an adapted Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.
Results: During the 5-year period from 1999 to 2003, the prevalence of CVD risk factors increased significantly: diabetes (12% to 16%), high blood pressure (26% to 34%), high cholesterol (23% to 30%), and obesity (34% to 39%). The percentage reporting current smoking was stable and remained high (38% to 36%). After adjusting for age and gender, the increases in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity remained significant. The percentage reporting two or more CVD risk factors increased significantly overall, among men and women, and among older and younger respondents during the 5-year time period.
Conclusions: The prevalence of CVD risk factors among American Indian adults in Montana is high, and for many of the risk factors, has increased significantly over a 5-year period.