Low wages means higher BP, study says

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Low-wage workers have a greater risk for hypertension than workers with higher wages, University of California-Davis investigators have discovered.

Researchers were surprised that low wages “were such a strong risk factor,” said professor J. Paul Leigh, Ph.D. The correlation was specifically strong among women and individuals between ages 25 and 44, he noted. 

The work of Leigh and his team is believed to be the first to isolate the role of salary in hypertension. Other studies have focused on occupation, job strain, education and insurance coverage, with mixed results. 

“Wages are also a part of the employment environment that easily can be changed. Policymakers can raise the minimum wage, which tends to increase wages overall and could have significant public-health benefits,” he said. 

The team used data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and used logistic regressions for the statistical analysis. They found doubling a worker's wage reduced the risk of a hypertension diagnosis by 1.2% over two years and 0.6% for one year.

Findings appeared in the European Journal of Public Health in December. 

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