Study finds diet is chief reason for racial difference in blood pressure in US

NBC News (10/2) reports the “Southern diet” described as including “fried food, cheesy casseroles, and sweet, sweet tea” is “deadly, especially to African-Americans,” by increasing “blood pressure up to killer levels,” according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study included “7,000 people who had been taking part in a larger, long-term study of diet and lifestyle,” and included recording “weight, blood pressure, cholesterol,” alcohol consumption, “income and about exercise habits,” as well as “symptoms of stress and depression.” The researchers also asked about diet and found “big differences between blacks and whites in terms of eating the least-healthy foods.” African-Americans were also found to be “less likely to eat healthy foods that lower the risk of heart disease, including vegetables, fruits and whole grains.” They found no racial difference in BMI among men, though “black women were more likely to be obese than white women.”

U.S. News & World Report (10/2, Lardieri) states, “African-Americans who die younger mostly die from heart disease caused by high blood pressure” and the reason found was “a Southern diet, one filled with high amounts of salt, sugar and fat.” Overall, the study found that “the Southern-style diet accounted for 51.6 percent of excess risk for high blood pressure in black men and 29.2 percent in black women.”

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