Purpose: We examined the prevalence of ideal cardiovascular health of workers within a national U.S. population-based cohort.
Methods: Participants included 5,566 black and white men and women age 45 and older who were employed and free of CHD/stroke when enrolled into the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study. Clinical and behavioral cardiovascular risk factor data were obtained at enrollment. Ideal CVH (iCVH) was assessed from seven modifiable CVD risk factors based on the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7. Three clinical (blood pressure (BP), total cholesterol, fasting glucose) and 4 behavioral (physical activity, smoking, diet quality, BMI) factors were each scored according to AHA criteria. Jobs held at enrollment were grouped into aggregate standard occupational groups. National prevalence estimates were computed using SAS Survey Logistic with weights based on actual sampling probabilities of the sub-sample. In significance testing, each occupation group was compared with all other groups combined, adjusting for age, race, sex, and region (stroke-belt, other).
Results: The prevalence of iCVH among older workers free of CHD/stroke is low. Although 88% were non-smokers and 78% had ideal glucose, 41% or less achieved ideal levels of all other risk factors. Management/professionals had higher ideal BP and BMI, and were more likely to be non-smokers and physically active; however those employed in business and finance were more likely to have a poor diet (72%). Ideal BP was highest for healthcare practitioners (43%) and those employed in the arts, entertainment, sports and media (47%). Service workers were more likely to have uncontrolled BP, glucose and cholesterol, have lower ideal BMI, and smoke. Uncontrolled BP was high among sales workers (23%) and highest (35%) among those in protective services (e.g., police, firefighters). Dyslipidemia was highest (22%) among personal care and service workers. Obesity was highest among those employed in healthcare support (54%) and food preparation and serving (55%). Those in sales and low status office work were more likely to smoke (17%) and be inactive (38%). Skilled laborers in installation, maintenance and repair had low dyslipidemia (5%), but had the lowest ideal BMI (10%). Transportation and material moving workers had high uncontrolled BP (24%) and the highest smoking prevalence (22%).
Conclusions: The prevalence of iCVH among older workers free of CHD/stroke is low, but substantial differences in CVH exist by occupation. Targeted screening and health promotion is warranted to accommodate the information, resource, and schedule needs of older workers employed in diverse occupational settings with different clinical and behavioral risk factor profiles.