Skip to main content


Ordúñez-García, P. O.; Espinosa-Brito, A. D.; Cooper, Richard S.; Kaufman, Jay S.; & Nieto, F. Javier (1998). Hypertension in Cuba: Evidence of a Narrow Black-White Difference. Journal of Human Hypertension, 12(2), 111-116.


The Caribbean nation of Cuba is comprised of over 10 million persons who trace their ancestry primarily to Africa and Spain. To date, little data on blood pressure (BP) or hypertension prevalence from Cuba have appeared in English language journals. Because the current government has pursued an active policy of reducing social differentiation on the basis of ethnic origin, Cuba provides an important population laboratory from which to advance the understanding of black-white differences in BP and hypertension. The authors conducted a population-based random sample among adults (aged > 15 years) in the city of Cienfuegos. Overall response rate was 95%, yielding 1633 participants who provided BP readings, self-reported racial group, demographic information, and treatment status. Overall prevalence of hypertension (SBP > or = 140 mm Hg or DBP > or = 90 mm Hg or currently treated) was 44% (46% among blacks and 43% whites; P = 0.19). Excess BP among black subjects was reduced slightly by excluding those under treatment, but attained statistical significance after adjustment for sex and age (P = 0.01). The black-white difference was small, however, relative to that observed in the United States. Racial differences in treatment status and control were also observed. Although there remains a difference in socioeconomic profile between those of African and of European origin in Cuba, this has decreased over recent decades. In the United States, the greater magnitude of social differentiation parallels a greater relative risk of BP elevation among blacks, suggesting that social, economic and psychological factors may play an important role in the observed racial gap in cardiovascular risk.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Human Hypertension


Ordúñez-García, P. O.
Espinosa-Brito, A. D.
Cooper, Richard S.
Kaufman, Jay S.
Nieto, F. Javier