Study finds family stabilty programs could reduce adult hypertension
Black men raised in single-parent households could have higher blood pressure as adults than those who grew up in two-parent homes, says research from a long-term Howard University Family Study (HUFS). African-American men have higher rates of hypertension than men of other ethnic groups.
The study, which examined data from 515 men participating in the HUFS and the first of its kind to link the living arrangements of children to adult pressure in black men, found:
Men who lived with both parents during one or more years of their childhoods had 4.4 mm Hg lower systolic (top number) blood pressure than those raised entirely in single-parent homes.
Black children who live with their mothers alone are three times more likely to be poor, and those who live with fathers or a non-parent are twice as likely to be poor.
A critical period during childhood (ages 1 to 12) and a potential mechanism through which the early life socio-familial factor operates may influence adult blood pressure.
The takeaway: Programs that maintain family stability could have a significant, positive impact on the risk of hypertension. “Living with both parents in early life may identify a critical period in human development where a nurturing socio-familial environment can have profound, long-lasting influences on blood pressure,” the study authors say in a statement.