The magnitude of chronic conditions and risk factors among American Indian/Alaska Native women of reproductive age is unknown. The objective of our study was to estimate this magnitude.
We analyzed data for 2,821 American Indian/Alaska Native women and 105,664 non-Hispanic white women aged 18 to 44 years from the 2005 and 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We examined prevalence of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, body mass index (kg/m2) ≥25.0, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and frequent mental distress, and the cumulative number of these chronic conditions and risk factors (≥3, 2, 1, or 0). In a multivariable, multinomial logistic regression model, we examined whether American Indian/Alaska Native race was associated with the cumulative number of chronic conditions and risk factors.
American Indian/Alaska Native women, compared with white women, had significantly higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and frequent mental distress. Of American Indian/Alaska Native women, 41% had 3 or more chronic conditions or risk factors compared with 27% of white women (χ2
, P < .001). After adjustment for income, education, and other demographic variables, American Indian/Alaska Native race was not associated with having either 1, 2, or 3 or more chronic conditions or risk factors.
Three out of every 5 American Indian/Alaska Native women aged 18 to 44 years have 3 or more chronic conditions or risk factors. Improving economic status and education for AI/AN women could help eliminate disparities in health status.