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Oklahoma’s Health: Heart Disease

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Health
Wordcount: 1953 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Oklahoma’s Health: Heart Disease

Cause of Death in Oklahoma

 One of the leading causes of death in Oklahoma is Heart Disease (State of the State’s Health, 2018). Oklahoma’s rate of Heart Disease related deaths is the second highest rate in the United States. It is just below Mississippi’s rate at 228.2 per 100,000 of the population (State of the State’s Health, 2018). Compared to the national average of 165.50 per 100,000 of the population, Oklahoma’s Heart Disease death rate it is notably higher than the rest of the United States (State of the State’s Health, 2018). Oklahoma has also earned a grade of an F, which is the lowest possible grade to achieve in the United States health indication grade ranking system (State of the State’s Health, 2018). Oklahoma has a trend of being on the lower end of the health scope compared to other states.

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 Minnesota is ranked higher and healthier than the state of Oklahoma. In 2016, they earned a grade of an A, and had a rate of 114.9 per 100,000 of the population of Heart Disease related deaths (State of the State’s Health, 2018). Minnesota’s health rate may be better than Oklahoma’s health rate due to the level of care they provide or the accessibility to the care being provided. Oklahoma has limited public transportation, which could play a role in why some of the population are not able to make vital appointments or yearly checkups concerning their heart health. Other factors such as food choices and health care compliance are potential reasons that Minnesota is doing better. Minnesota’s poverty rate is much lower than Oklahoma’s poverty rate (Pariona, 2017). Poverty can influence whether a person seeks healthcare. With that being said, access to care and financial approval of medical assistance has a higher approval rate in the state of Minnesota than in Oklahoma (Blankley, 2018).

 Minnesota has implemented specific programs and plans to tackle the epidemic of Heart Disease. One of the things Minnesota has done to improve Heart Disease prevention is by creating a long term health plan full of recommendations and educational information called the Minnesota Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Plan of 2011-2020 (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d.). Part of this plan includes treating and getting rid of the modifiable risk factors that are associated with Heart Disease, such as smoking and obesity (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d.). Legalization of tobacco over 21 and organizations such as, SHIP Tobacco Prevention, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Farm to School help reduce smoking and obesity rates, in return eliminating some risk factors of Heart Disease (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d.). Minnesota also has various websites and resources that inform the population of the risk factors of Heart Disease and instructions on how to manage it. Oklahoma could benefit from the use of a long term prevention program. A long term prevention plan to treat the rapid growth of Heart Disease could drastically change the outcome of the mortality rate of Heart Disease in Oklahoma. By creating a long term plan, Oklahoma could analyze and examine trends in the state and form their plan based on the needs of the population.

Demographics and Their Impact on the Cause of Death

 Race is a non-modifiable risk factor of Heart Disease (UCSF Medical Center, n.d.).  Within Oklahoma there are several races that make up the population. Asians and Hispanics have the lowest rate of Heart Disease related deaths, while African Americans, Native Americans, and Caucasians have the highest rate of Heart Disease related deaths in Oklahoma (State of the State’s Health, 2018). With a grades of an A, 116.6 per 100,000 of Asians and 107.3 per 100,000 of Hispanics die from Heart Disease (State of the State’s Health, 2018). African Americans have a much higher rate of 255.3 per 100,000 of Heart Disease related deaths (State of the State’s Health, 2018). Most minorities, especially African Americans are at an increased risk for Heart Disease (UCSF Medical Center, n.d.). African Americans are at an increased risk for Heart Disease due to systemic oppression of racial groups in the health care system, diet, and genetic differences (Saab, 2014). Typically, African Americans incorporate more sodium and high fatty foods into their diets, which is correlated with hypertension and other health issues (Saab, 2014). Generally, they also have less access to health care and insurance coverages (Saab, 2014). Lifestyle changes and early steps to prevention can help African Americans decrease their likelihood of getting Heart Disease.

 Compared to the African Americans within Minnesota, the African Americans in Oklahoma have a higher chance of dying from Heart Disease (State of the State’s Health, 2018). Oklahoma’s African American population has a grade of an F related to Heart Disease deaths. As mentioned in the first section, Minnesota’s rate of Heart Disease related death is 114.9 per 100,000 of the population (State of the State’s Health, 2018). This ratio alone of the whole population (all races included) is lower than the African American Heart Disease related deaths in Oklahoma. The African American population within Oklahoma has two times the amount of this value. Though these differences are noteworthy, Minnesota’s low rate of Heart Disease among African Americans can be attributed to the high amount of foreign-born African Americans that reside in Minnesota (Minnesota Department of Health, n.d.). Despite the two states varying, African Americans in both populations have an increased risk when compared to other races.

Lifestyle Risk Factor and its Impact on the Health of the Population

Obesity is one of the many risk factors that contribute to the development of Heart Disease (Ortega, Lavie, & Blair, 2016). Oklahoma is the third most obese state in the United States with an obesity rate of 36.5% (The State of Obesity, 2018). The most recent obesity rate in the nation is 47% in adults and 25.8% in children (The State of Obesity, 2018). Oklahoma’s obesity rate is ten percent lower than the national average. Certain polices, marketing strategies, and nutrition standards play a critical role in why Oklahoma has the third highest obesity rate in the nation. For example, Oklahoma does not require middle school and high school students to participate in physical education, while other states do (The State of Obesity, 2018). The state also does not have a specific definition for physical activity in ECE settings (The State of Obesity, 2018). 

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Obesity has substantial adverse effects on the development or worsening of Heart Disease (Lavie, Milani, & Ventura, 2009). Obesity increases cardiac output, cardiac workload, and total blood volume (Lavie et al., 2009). These changes in normal physiological function cause structural abnormalities within the heart (Lavie et al., 2009). Depending on the extent of the obesity left ventricular hypertrophy, right sided heart dysfunction, and other various complications can occur (Poirier et al., 2006). This is a problem because Heart Disease and obesity are both heavily prevalent in Oklahoma. Obesity leads to other numerous health problems, such as hypertension, joint and circulation issues, and endothelial dysfunction (Poirier et al., 2006). Reducing obesity through the promotion of physical activity and a healthier diet would greatly benefit the population within Oklahoma and improve its ranking in health.

An increase in physician visits that focus on education addressing the importance of physical activity, and an increase of schools who serve and offer nutritious meals and drinks are two Healthy People 2020 objectives that can help reduce obesity (Healthy People 2020, 2019). In 2006, the baseline for school districts requiring more nutritious meals was at 6.6%, and has increased every four years (Healthy People 2020, 2019). In 2012 the percentage increased to 9.6% and in 2016 to 16.3% (Healthy People 2020, 2019). Healthy People 2020 (2019) are progressing towards their desired goal of 18.6% of school districts that require more fruits and vegetables by 2020. In regards to increasing physician visits that discuss the importance of exercise Healthy People 2020 did reach their goal of 14.3%, but unfortunately dropped back down to 12.3% in 2010 (Healthy People 2020, 2019). Overall, Healthy People 2020 has made monumental progressions toward bettering the health of the United States.


  • Blankley, B. (2018, August 16). Report: Minnesota has the fourth best healthcare in America. Minnesota Watchdog. Retrieved from https://www.watchdog.org/minnesota/report-minnesota-has-the-fourth-best-healthcare-in-america/article_eeda052e-a163-11e8-843a-8f69aac9a342.html
  • Healthy People 2020. (2019, January 30). 2020 Topics and objectives: Objectives a-z. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives
  • Lavie, C. J., Milani, R. V., & Ventura, V. O. (2009). Obesity and cardiovascular disease: Risk factor, paradox, and impact of weight loss. Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), 53(21), 1925–32. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2008.12.068.
  • Minnesota Department of Health. (n.d.). State Plans: Minnesota heart disease and stroke prevention plan 2011-2020. Retrieved from http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/healthimprovement/working-together/state-plans/hdspstateplan.html
  • Ortega, F. B., Lavie, C. J., & Blair, S. N. (2016). Obesity and cardiovascular disease. Circulation Research, 118(11), 1752-1770. doi:10.1161/circresaha.115.306883
  • Pariona, A. (2017, February 27). US states by poverty rate. Retrieved from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/us-states-by-poverty-rate.html
  • Poirier, P., Giles, T. D., Bray, G. A., Hong, Y., Stern, J. S., Pi-Sunyer, F. X., & Eckel, R. H. (2006). Obesity and cardiovascular disease: Pathophysiology, evaluation, and effect of weight loss. Journal of the American Heart Association,113(6), 898-918. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.106.171016
  • Saab, K. R., Kendrick, J., Yracheta, J. M., Lanaspa, M. A., Pollard, M., & Johnson, R. J. (2014). New insights on the risk for cardiovascular disease in african americans: The role of added sugars. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 26(2), 247-257. doi:10.1681/asn.2014040393
  • State of the State’s Health. (2018, November 16). State of the state’s health: Indicators state of the state’s health report. Retrieved from https://stateofstateshealth.ok.gov/Data/HealthIndicator
  • The State of Obesity. (2018). Adult obesity in the united states. Retrieved from https://stateofobesity.org/adult-obesity
  • UCSF Medical Center. (n.d.). Non-modifiable risk factors. Retrieved from http://healthyheart.ucsf.edu/heartdisease-riskfactors.shtml


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