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Female Head, Food Stamps, Ethnicity and Air Pollution: Confounders or Causes of Heart Disease in Texas

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DOI: 10.4236/ojepi.2016.62015    1,616 Downloads   2,149 Views Citations


One in every four deaths in the United States is attributed to heart disease. While the ethnic variations have not been momentous, the socioeconomic disparities of heart disease incidence need to be further investigated. Moreover, exposure to air pollutants has been documented to cause heart disease. This secondary-data study investigates the effects of air pollutants as well as socioeconomic factors on hospitalization rate of heart disease in Texas. The rates for the five sub-diagnoses of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, hypertension and heart disease were linked to ozone, fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and socioeconomic status factors at the county level. These were college education attainment, households with female heads, percentage of users of food stamps, ethnicities, living near a park and living in houses with severe housing problems. Spatial lag modelling was conducted to estimate the statistical significance of the independent variables on the five sub-diagnoses of heart disease. Fine particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and being African American were significant to all the outcomes. Living in a household with female head was significant to stroke and hypertension. Using food stamps was significant to cardiovascular disease, heart attack and heart disease. Fine particulate matter and sulphur dioxide increase the risk of heart disease by a factor of three to twenty two times, respectively. Whereas low socioeconomic status increases the risk of heart disease by a factor of up to four times. The results of the effect of particulate air and sulphur dioxide pollution among people in low social class especially African Americans. The vicious cycle of heart disease and low socioeconomic status call for societal and policy makers’ attention through methodical interventions to address the two significant issues of industrial facilities site allocation and stationary emission resources.

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Anderson, F. and Al-Thani, N. (2016) Female Head, Food Stamps, Ethnicity and Air Pollution: Confounders or Causes of Heart Disease in Texas. Open Journal of Epidemiology, 6, 146-153. doi: 10.4236/ojepi.2016.62015.

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