Recession Took Toll on Health of Rural Young Blacks

From - September 6, 2017

Recession Took Toll on Health of Rural Young Blacks

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 6, 2017 -- The Great Recession of 2007-2009 may have hit black American teens in poor rural communities particularly hard, a new study suggests.

What the researchers discovered was that these young people now appear to be at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

The recession was the largest in the United States since the Great Depression in the 1930s, the study authors noted. And many in rural black communities in the Southeast have yet to recover lost jobs, social services and wealth, the researchers explained.

This study included 328 black participants, aged 25 to 26. During the recession, they were 16 and 17, and lived in nine rural counties in Georgia with high poverty rates and high heart disease death rates.

The investigators examined rates of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Those risk factors include a large waistline, high blood fat levels, low levels of "good" (HDL) cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar when fasting.

At ages 25 to 26, rates of diagnosed metabolic syndrome were just over 10 percent among participants whose family incomes were low but stable during the recession, nearly 22 percent among those whose family incomes were low and dropped even more during the recession, and 27.5 percent among those whose families already lived in poverty and became deeply impoverished during the recession.

The study was published Sept. 6 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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