Monika Safford of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said the study involved more than 24,000 people nationwide who were tracked for an average of four years.
"High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol -- these are the things that have very longstanding reputation for being associated with heart attack," Safford said in a statement. "And the overall risk burden in blacks is quite a bit higher than it is in whites."
The study participants resided in the continental United States and were enrolled between 2003 and 2007 with follow-up through December 2009. Blacks and whites had a similar average age, but smoking, diabetes, and reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate -- a measure of kidney function -- were more prevalent, and systolic blood pressure and body mass index were higher among blacks than whites, Safford said.
Women had lower incidence rates than men within each racial group. However, black women had higher incidence rates for total coronary heart disease, for fatal coronary heart disease, and for non-fatal coronary heart disease, compared to white women. In addition, the increased risk of fatal coronary heart disease among blacks was associated with a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.