Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

New Study Finds Heart Disease Risk Has Nothing To Do With Race

A new Northwestern Medicine study revealed the factors that put people at risk for heart disease.

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The fact that Black people are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than whites isn’t exactly news. But a new Northwestern Medicine study has confirmed something that Black people have known all along – that the difference has less to do with genetics and more to do with environmental and social factors.

The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study began in 1985 and included over 5,000 white and Black adults in Chicago, Minneapolis, Oakland and Birmingham who were followed for over 30 years. The final results of the study were published on May 24 in the journal of the American Heart Association.

The results revealed that Black women had a 2.4-times higher risk for cardiovascular disease than white women. Black men were not far behind, with a 1.6-times higher risk for cardiovascular disease than white men. The researchers concluded that factors including education, socioeconomic status, and quality of diet were among the biggest determinants of risk.

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And while this data may not be surprising to those in the struggle, the Northwestern researchers who conducted the study hope that doctors and policymakers will start paying more attention to the environmental determinants of health that put people of color at risk. And they hope their findings encourage the greater community to take preventative measures to help reduce some of the disparity.

“It is important to note that clinical risk factors, lifestyle and depression are not independent of socioeconomic status and neighborhood segregation,” said Dr. Nilay Shah, Assistant Professor of Cardiology and Epidemiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician. “Future research needs to go upstream to target social determinants of cardiovascular health. Our study lays groundwork to help inform community-engaged interventions that ensure equal opportunities for all people to have access to high-quality foods, environments and health care.”