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FOR RELEASE: June 21, 2001
CONTACT: Pam Williams

Oklahoma Men and Heart Disease: New Statistics Released Today

There are regional, racial and ethnic disparities in heart disease death rates among men ages 35 years and older in Oklahoma and in other parts of the United States according to a new report, Men and Heart Disease: An Atlas of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mortality, released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and West Virginia University.

Men ages 35 years and older who lived in Oklahoma during 1991 through 1995 were studied. Overall, a total of 27,377 men in Oklahoma died from diseases of the heart during the five-year study period. Heart disease deaths account for 44 percent of all deaths in Oklahoma. Five heart disease mortality maps for the state of Oklahoma were included in the atlas.

County variations in heart disease death rates were mapped for all men, American Indian and Alaska Native men, Asian and Pacific Islander men, black men, and white men in Oklahoma. The population of Hispanic men was too small to produce a valid map.


Number of deaths


Heart disease death rate

1991-95, Oklahoma

Heart disease death rate

1991-1995, US

National rank*

1= lowest rank

American Indian/Alaska Native men


530 deaths per 100,000

465 deaths per 100,000

19 of 35 states

Asian/Pacific Islander men


478 deaths per 100,000

372 deaths per 100,000

37 of 39 states

Black men


904 deaths per 100,000

847 deaths per 100,000

37 of 44 states

Hispanic men (includes all races)

insufficient data

insufficient data

432 deaths per 100,000

 insufficient data

White men


775 deaths per 100,000

666 deaths per 100,000

47 of 51 states



767 deaths per 100,000

675 deaths per 100,000

47 of 51 states

Counties with the highest heart disease death rates for all men in Oklahoma were found in the rural Southeastern region of the state. The lowest rates of heart disease mortality occurred in the Western panhandle and North Central region of the state.

Within Oklahoma, African American men experienced the highest heart disease death rate, whereas the lowest rate was found for Asian/Pacific Islander men, although Oklahoma's death rate among all racial and ethnic groups is higher than the national average.

“The maps and data contained in the report provide us with the most up-to-date information available to identify communities and populations of men at greatest risk of heart disease in Oklahoma, “ said State Epidemiologist Dr. Mike Crutcher. “The data will be extremely useful in targeting prevention programs that include heart healthy living and community and working environments for men of all races and ethnic groups.”

Men and Heart Disease national maps show that a man's risk of dying from heart disease depends in part on where he lives. Counties with the highest heart disease death rates for all men were primarily in Appalachia, the Ohio-Mississippi River Valley, the Mississippi Delta, and the eastern Piedmont and coastal regions of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Counties with the lowest death rates for men were observed primarily in the western regions of the U.S. along with parts of Florida, Minnesota, and Michigan.

“To successfully reduce the heart disease death rate disparities in Oklahoma, we must work together with state partners such as the American Heart Association, as well as communities, state policymakers, and other health professionals to implement heart disease and stroke health prevention programs that work, “ Crutcher said. The Oklahoma State Board of Health has targeted heart disease and stroke as priority areas for planning and intervention. Oklahoma has recently received funding from the CDC to begin to address this problem.

To order copies of Men and Heart Disease, call 1-888-232-2306 or write the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Heart Disease Atlas Project, Mail Stop K-47, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, Georgia 30341. An online version of the document can be downloaded by visiting West Virginia University's Web site (http://oseahr.hsc.wvu.edu/) or CDC's Web site (www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/cvd). An interactive version of the report is also available on the CDC Web site.

To learn more about heart disease, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health's Chronic Disease Service at 405/271-4072, or call the American Heart Association in Oklahoma at 1-888-242-0280.


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