Heart Disease

Blacks in Poor Neighborhoods at Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Black people who live in low-income neighborhoods are at higher risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke than those who live in wealthier areas, according to a recent study.
Researchers studied data collected from the ongoing Jackson Heart Study, which involves 5,300 black adults in Jackson, Mississippi, who participated in the government-funded study. Researchers also looked at information collected in the 2000 U.S. Census.
In the study, each decrease on a scale of socioeconomic status was associated with a 25 percent rise in heart disease risk.
Researchers also assessed chaos and violence levels in neighborhoods, and found a similar increase in risk of heart disease for each negative step on the scale. But the research didn’t prove neighborhood conditions caused poor health.
“For decades, centuries, even, researchers have linked adverse neighborhood economic and social conditions to health,” said study leader Sharrelle Barber, a research fellow at Drexel University’s School of Public Health in Philadelphia. Violence and disorder are among issues that must be addressed, she said. “These are symptoms of the broader issues of racial and economic inequality rampant in urban areas across the United States.”
These issues stem from decades of concentrated poverty. Particulars included limited opportunities for good jobs, proper education and other resources necessary for the individual and community well-being. “One way of addressing this issue is to invest in economic and social policies at the neighborhood level—such as creating jobs and educational opportunities—in tandem with evidence-based efforts to reduce violence.”
The Jackson Heart Study is the largest single-site study of heart disease in an African-American population, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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