Affordable Health Insurance logo Everything You Need to Know About Affordable Health Insurance and More

  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Study Confirms That Southern Cooking May Be Killing African-Americans

African American family eating soulfood

According to numerous studies in the past few years, African-Americans continue to have higher rates of early death than their white counterparts. Researchers often find several factors that contribute to that. But a recent long-term study links the rather unhealthy Southern-style diet to more African-Americans suffering from heart disease and dying younger.
The sumptuous and tasty Southern cooking loaded with salt, sugar, and fat is always so tempting, some eat more than enough. However, it also raises blood pressure up to a level that becomes deadly, especially to African-Americans.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that the leading factor why African-Americans die younger than Whites is heart disease mainly caused by high blood pressure. The study also noted that such a rise in blood pressure is a result of eating a Southern-style diet.

Around 7,000 people were initially examined from 2003 to 2007 and examined again an average of nine years later. Aside from their weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol, they were also asked about their alcohol intake, exercise habits, income, stress and depression, and the types of foods they eat.

Not surprisingly, Blacks reportedly had higher rates of early deaths than Whites, which is mostly due to high blood pressure as previous studies also concluded. What came as a surprise was diet being linked to the death rates.

"I would have guessed obesity would have been playing a big role and factors like stress and depression would have been playing a big role," George Howard, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and one of the head researchers, told NBC News. "Once I saw that it was a Southern diet, it was a 'oh yeah that makes sense' kind of thing."

Southern diet actually represents the American diet overall. However, the study found big differences between blacks and whites when it comes to eating the least-healthy foods. It concluded that Blacks eat a lot more of Southern diet than Whites and eat a lot less of healthy foods that lower the risk of heart diseases such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

On a brighter note, the American Heart Association gave guidelines on how to prevent heart diseases, including eating more vegetables, fruit and whole grains, exercising regularly, and eating less sugar and fried food.

"There's good news in this paper. The things that look like they are big contributors in the racial differences in hypertension are actually things that can be changed," Howard said.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.