Abstract 17248: Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Inmates
Background: In the United States 1 out of every 100 males are imprisoned with federally mandated health care provided by the prison. Inmates tend to have high tobacco, alcohol and drug use but other risk factors have not been reported. The purpose of this study was to determine if a self-rated general health question was associated with lipid levels and modifiable risk factors of inmates.
Method: A total of 304 male inmates (ages 19-77; M = 36 ± 9.7) in four medium security state prisons completed the Inmate Health Risk Assessment, comprised of 10 items on tobacco use, diet, exercise, stress, social support and coping. Categorical responses were rated from 1-3 giving a possible range of 10 to 30 with lower scores indicating healthier life-styles. The general health question had a 5-point Likert scale from excellent to poor. Finger stick lipid panel was obtained for high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), total cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Results: The single general health item was associated with HDL, triglyceride levels and the total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio (p < 0.001) but not with total cholesterol (p = .07) or LDL (p=.32). The mean score on the IHRA was 18.3 (SD = 3.3). Perception of poorer health on the general health question was associated with increased scores on the IHRA (p = < 0.001) after controlling for age, ethnicity, marital status and education level.
Conclusion: Inmates who reported a perception of poor health had more modifiable lifestyle risk factors such as tobacco use, poor coping, sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition than those with perceptions of good to excellent health. Perception of poor health was associated with lower HDL and higher triglyceride levels. The single general health question may be useful for prison health care providers to target behavioral interventions that can improve cardiovascular health in inmates.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.