WASHINGTON DC—BLACK MEN raised in single-parents households often have higher blood pressure than those raised by both parents, accord-ing to an American Heart Association study.
Taking a cross-sectional sample of 515 Black males in a Howard University family study, the ﬁ ndings report that “Black men who lived with both parents compared with the reference group of men who never lived with both parents during their lifetime had lower systolic Blood Pressure.
The beneﬁ ts also improved depending on how long the males lived with both parents: This protective effect was more pronounced among men who lived with both parents for 1 to 12 years of their lives; they had BP, pulse pres- sure mean arterial pressure and a 46% decreased odds of developing hypertension.
Using the ﬁndings, the study concluded “these results provide preliminary evidence that childhood family structure exerts a long-term inﬂuence on BP among Black men.”
Men in single-parent households are more likely to live in poverty, which could explain the results.
The study is another in the tangled history of Blacks and blood pressure. According to WebMD, Blacks develop high blood pres- sure at younger ages than other groups in the United States. They are also more likely to develop complications from elevated blood pressure, including stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.
Though genetic factors play a role in high blood pressure, researchers have attributed environ- mental factors as well. Black people in the United States are more likely to be overweight than Blacks in other countries.
This is largely considered to be an effect of racial discrimination in hiring practices and systemic economic inequality.