A University of Texas at Arlington researcher is examining how historic segregation in the United States may contribute to cardiovascular disease among individuals from minority or low-income groups.
“If this research does find neighborhood factors, like racial segregation and income, impact cardiovascular disease in minority and low-income people, then we can begin to approach those issues from a local policies perspective and hopefully reduce cardiovascular disease for the entire community,” said Yeonwoo Kim, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology in UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, but its impact varies by race and socioeconomic status. Black Americans and people of low socioeconomic status have earlier onsets of heart disease and a greater risk of dying compared to white Americans.
In a separate study, Kim is exploring the effects of built and social environments—such as health care resources, food accessibility, socioeconomic status, crime prevention and recreational facilities—on the health disparities found in people with cardiovascular disease.
Both projects use data from the Health and Retirement Study, which collected comprehensive information on health, health behaviors and socioeconomic status from 20,000 adults over age 50 biennially between 2004 and 2014.
This research is pivotal to addressing cardiovascular disease at the public health level, Kim said.
“If we change the neighborhood factors, then we could reduce the whole population’s risk. The magnitude of that impact would be great,” she said.
– Written by Sarah McBride, College of Nursing and Health Innovation