Assessment of Cardiovascular Health among Community-Dwelling Men with Incarceration History

Academic Article


  • Returning to the community after incarceration is a particularly vulnerable time with significantly increased risk of death in the first 2 weeks. The elevated risk of death persists as long as 2 years, with cardiovascular disease (CVD) among the leading causes. African-Americans, especially African-American men, have higher rates of incarceration and community supervision (e.g., probation and parole) and an earlier onset of hypertension compared to Whites. Few studies have objectively assessed the cardiovascular health profile of criminal justice involved individuals. This study is designed to determine the cardiovascular health profile among men in community corrections and/or transitional housing, identify the prevalence of key CVD risk factors, and assess if risk varies by race/ethnicity. We recruited 100 adult men (mean age = 42.7, SD = 11.35, 60% White, 40% non-Hispanic White) with a history of incarceration in jail or prison of ≥ 6 months during their most recent incarceration and enrolled in a community corrections program. Using the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7™ (LS-7), measures of each of the LS-7 components (body mass index, blood pressure, lipids, blood glucose, smoking, diet, and physical activity) were obtained, and LS-7 scores were generated for each measure using AHA-defined categories of poor (1 point), intermediate (2 points), and ideal (3 points) and summed to yield a total score ranging from poor for all (7 points) to ideal for all (21 points). Mann-Whitney U tests were performed to assess differences in LS-7 scores (poor, intermediate, ideal) by race/ethnicity. Additionally, an independent samples t test was conducted for race/ethnicity and LS-7 total score. Mann-Whitney U tests for LS-7 categories and race/ethnicity indicated a greater number of non-Whites had poor blood pressure (p <.01) and diet (p <.05) as compared to Whites. The independent samples t test demonstrated significantly lower LS-7 scores for non-Whites compared to Whites. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate cardiovascular health among individuals with a history of incarceration using the LS-7 metric, which included objective measures for four of the seven LS-7 metrics. Non-Whites, which included African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, were more likely than Whites to fall into the poor category for both diet and blood pressure and had significantly lower total LS-7 scores than Whites, indicating they have worse scores across all seven of the LS-7 measures. Similar to what is found among non-incarcerated samples, non-Whites with incarceration histories are at elevated risk for cardiovascular events relative to their White peers.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fobian AD; Froelich M; Sellers A; Cropsey K; Redmond N
  • Start Page

  • 556
  • End Page

  • 563
  • Volume

  • 95
  • Issue

  • 4