(HealthDay News) – The prevalence of stroke in the United States has changed little over the past seven years, and disparities by race/ethnicity, education level, and geographic location still persist.

Jing Fang, MD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2006–2010 to evaluate trends in stroke prevalence by state of residence and by sociodemographic characteristics.

The researchers found stroke prevalence to be unchanged since the last report, which was based on 2005 BRFSS data, though it did fall from 2.7% in 2006 to 2.6% in 2010. The same disparities persisted, with stroke still most prevalent among older people, blacks, American Indians, natives of Alaska, and those with less education. Geographically, stroke was more prevalent in the Southeast and less prevalent in parts of the Midwest and Northeast. Notably, stroke prevalence fell significantly for men in South Dakota and Georgia.

“Results from this report can help state stroke prevention programs increase state capacity to control and prevent stroke and related risk factors,” the authors write. “In addition, especially in states with high stroke prevalence, these findings can help public health officials to develop targeted programs for heart disease and stroke prevention.”

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