HealthDay News — For black men and women, the Southern dietary pattern is the largest mediating factor for differences in the incidence of hypertension, according to a study published in the Oct. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

George Howard, DrPH, from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and colleagues examined potential factors associated with higher risk of incident hypertension among black adults in a cohort of 6897 participants without hypertension at baseline (2003 to 2007) who had a follow-up visit at a median of 9.4 years later.

The researchers found that 46% of black participants and 33% of white participants developed hypertension. For men and women, there was a significant correlation between the Southern diet score and incident hypertension (odds ratios, 1.16 and 1.17, respectively, per one standard deviation). The largest mediating factor for differences in the incidence of hypertension was the Southern dietary pattern, which accounted for 51.6% and 29.2% of the excess risk among black men and women, respectively. A higher dietary ratio of sodium to potassium and an education level of high school graduate or less each mediated 12.3% of the excess risk for black men. These were also mediating factors for black women, including higher body mass index and larger waist.

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“Key factors statistically mediating the racial difference for both men and women included Southern diet score, dietary ratio of sodium to potassium, and education level,” the authors write.

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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