Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among African Americans, with the death rate in African American women 1.5 times that of white women. The majority of risk factors that contribute to mortality from CVD are modifiable. Many investigators have attempted to examine variables that contribute to health-promoting and risk-reducing behaviors, among them the perceived value of health behavior and the barriers and benefits of risk- reduction behavior. In this study, 80 young black women (age range, 18-40 years) completed questionnaires designed to estimate barriers to and benefits of CVD risk reduction, the Heart Test (National Health Enhancement Systems Inc., Phoenix, AZ), and the Rokeach Value Survey. Forty-two percent of this largely unskilled or unemployed group of women was at high risk for CVD, with obesity being the most common risk factor (61%). There were no significant correlations between benefits of and barriers to CVD risk reduction and heart risk status. In addition, there were no significant correlations between the ranked value of health and barriers to and benefits from CVD risk-reduction behavior. The value of health interacted with benefits of CVD risk-reduction exercise and smoking. There were significant interactions between barriers and smoking cessation and value of health.
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