Studies Demonstrate Link Between Racial Discrimination, Poor Health

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The Boston Globeon Sunday looked at the "fast-growing field of research documenting howracism literally hurts the body." In the last few years, there havebeen more than 100 studies documenting how racial discriminationaffects physical health. According to proponents, the "sheer breadth"of the research means that its conclusions are important, thoughcritics of the studies say that racial discrimination cannot beeffectively measured, the Globe reports. According to the Globe, research linking racial discrimination and health outcomes is "beset by unknowns," including:

  • A "concrete, agreed-upon definition" for racial discrimination;
  • Whether exposure to racism produces disease or if disease sets in after a threshold has been reached;
  • Whether exposure to racism during certain periods of life is more risky than at other times; and
  • Why some people affected by racism cope better than others.

Theresearch also is difficult to undertake in part because of the hardshipin obtaining funding and reluctance by some institutions to participatein the studies, the Globe reports (Drexler, Boston Globe, 7/15).
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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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