Employees earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers with the highest wages, according to research by the University of California, Davis (UC Davis).
The research, Are low wages risk factors for hypertension, found that the correlation between wages and hypertension was especially strong among women and workers between the ages of 25 to 44.
The research team used information from American working adults between the ages of 24 and 65 years of age, for three time periods: 1999-2001, 2001-03 and 2003-05. Wages were calculated as annual income from all sources, divided by work hours, and ranged from about $2.38 to $77 per hour in 1999 dollars.
The research also found:
- Doubling a wage was associated with a 16% decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis.
- Doubling the wages of younger workers was associated with a 25-30% decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis.
- Doubling the wages of women was associated with a 30-35% decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis.
J. Paul Leigh, senior author of the study and professor of public health sciences at UC Davis, said: “We were surprised that low wages were such a strong risk factor for two populations not typically associated with hypertension, which is more often linked with being older and male.
“Our outcome shows that women and younger employees working at the lowest pay scales should be screened regularly for hypertension.”