UGA study: Racial discrimination takes physical toll

7:59 AM, Feb 19, 2014   |    comments
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ATHENS, Ga. -- A new University of Georgia study says racial discrimination takes a toll on young African-Americans' health, reports the Athens Banner-Herald.

Experiencing racial prejudice is stressful, and the link between stress and bad health is well-established, said Gene Brody, director of UGA's Center for Family Research and lead author of the study.

Brody noted that African-Americans have shorter life expectancies than white Americans, and seemingly a greater vulnerability to a wide array of diseases, including cancers, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, among many others.

He said a factor could be that many African-Americans live a more stressful life because of racism.

"We start with the idea that these disease don't just show up during middle age, and that the origins of these diseases and their symptoms probably begin in childhood and adolescence," Brody said.

He said the affects of racial prejudice and stress can be eased through the support of family and friends.

To measure emotional support, researchers asked the young people in the study questions such as how available parents are to talk, and whether they feel they can go to their parents with problems.

Brody said he suspects the same findings could apply to other minority groups, but that his research has focused on African-American youth.

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(Atlanta Business Chronicle)

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