Poor Housing Conditions Linked To Blacks' Increased Risk For Diabetes

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Blacks who live in housing conditions that are considered substandardhave an increased risk of developing diabetes, according to a study inthe August issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, Asian News International/Yahoo! News reports.

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Researchers, including Mario Schootman of the Washington University School of Medicine,used previously collected data on 998 St. Louis blacks born between1936 and 1950. They looked at risk factors that likely contribute tohealth problems, including weight, exercise, alcohol and tobacco use,marital status and education. Researchers gathered data on individualhealth status, medical care access and characteristics of participants'neighborhoods. They rated neighborhoods as fair, poor, good orexcellent based on noise; air quality; the conditions of houses,streets, yards and sidewalks; and other physical characteristics, suchas broken windows, bad siding on homes, and proximity to industrialsites or traffic noise.

Researchers found that housingconditions rated as fair or poor were associated with an increased riskof diabetes for residents. After adjusting for all other factors,housing conditions still contributed to increased diabetes risk,according to the study. While there was no direct association betweenneighborhood conditions and diabetes risk, substandard housing morethan doubled diabetes risk, the study found.

Schootman said,"So far, we can't explain why that it. It could potentially be relatedto lead. Lead is associated with the development of diabetes, and weknow that in some poorer housing conditions, there's likely to be leadexposure. But it also could be related to other, unknown environmentalcontaminants." Increased stress from the living conditions could alsoplay a role, as there are "known links between stress and diabetes," Asian News International/Yahoo! News reports (Asian News International/Yahoo! News, 8/14).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserWeekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives,and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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