In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health have illustrated how physical health outcomes within the black population vary based on environment.

The research compared two populations, African Americans and Caribbean blacks, and the varied relationships between ethnicity, nativity, depressive symptoms, and physical health in these two populations. According to the research, a Caribbean-born black person living in the United States has a higher chance of being physically healthy than an African American or a U.S.-born black person of Caribbean descent, which was the least healthy group.

The survey relied on participants’ self-ratings of their physical health, so depressive symptoms were also noted. The study also demonstrated how important linking the physical and mental areas of wellness were. In all three groups, increased depressive symptoms lead directly to predictable health outcomes.

The research also discovered the least healthy age for all groups ranged 45–59, a time when doctors expect people to be improving their health. Middle age is also when family, career, and social life typically converge, so health might be a last priority when these other obligations are more demanding.

This study gives researchers a better understanding of the health patterns within different racial groups, and how environment can have a major effect on a person’s health.

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