Linking Health and Mortality Racial Differences to Experience and Perceptions of Discrimination

In an op ed in the New York Times (November 12, 2017), Douglas Jacobs refers to the “[m]ore than 700 studies on the link between discrimination and health . . . published since 2000. This body of work establishes a connection between discrimination and physical and mental well-being [such as] more than 100,000 black people [dying] prematurely each year.”  “While blood pressure normally dips at night, those who said they’d experience racism were more likely to have blood pressure that did not,” blood pressure elevation leading to arteriosclerosis and blood clot formation. He adds that the perception of discrimination alone is linked to poor health. Read the entire essay by clicking here.

In Rae Ellen Bichell’s story on NPR (November 11, 2017), “Scientists Start To Tease Out The Subtler Ways Racism Hurts Health,” she cites the research of Arline T. Geronimus, a behavioral scientist at the University of Michigan.  In the year following a violent raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a meat processing plant in Pottsville, Iowa and the consequent arrest and mistreatment of Latino-appearing workers, affected the unborn children of some Iowa residents who were pregnant at the time.  The researchers “found a small but noticeable increase in the percentage of babies who weighed less than 5 1/2 pounds — low birth weight — born to Latina moms. Pregnant women of Latino descent throughout the state of Iowa — including those who were U.S. citizens, including those who were not right at Postville — experienced, on average, about a 24 percent greater risk of their babies having a low birth weight than they had in that very same period of time the previous year.”  The transcript and podcast of the segment can be reached by clicking here.

 

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