New research links segregated neighborhoods and African Americans' high blood pressure. (Source: stevepb/Pixabay)
Chart reveals the stages of high blood pressure in adults. (Source: Nat'l Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH)
(RNN) - Black adults who moved from racially segregated to integrated neighborhoods experienced a significant decrease in their blood pressure, a result that could cause fewer strokes and heart attacks, a study found.
Researchers said the study, published in the May issue of "JAMA Internal Medicine," was the first to consider a link between residential segregation and blood pressure.
A rise in African American adults' blood pressure, the study said, is associated with living in racially segregated neighborhoods.
"Our study suggests that the stress and the inadequate access to health-promoting resources associated with segregation may play a role in these increases in blood pressure," David Goff, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, said in a news release.
The doctor said health-promoting resources include grocery stores, recreation centers and health care clinics.
Researchers read the blood pressure of 2,280 blacks aged 18 to 30 first in 1985 and 1986 and repeatedly over the next 25 years.
The people who had the most significant improvements had moved to less segregated neighborhoods from highly segregated ones.
The drop in their systolic blood pressure (top number) of 3 to 5 mm Hg is described as "a powerful effect" by the lead author, Kiarri Kershaw, an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“In terms of impact, just 1 mm Hg of reduction of the systolic blood pressure at the population level could result in meaningful reductions in heart attacks, strokes and heart failure,” she said.
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