Black men raised by single parent had higher blood pressure as adults
American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report
December 02, 2013Study Highlights:
- African-American men in Washington, D.C., who were raised in single-parent households had higher blood pressure as adults than those who spent at least part of their childhood in homes with two parents.
- Programs to create and maintain family stability in childhood could have a long-lasting impact on the risk of hypertension.
DALLAS, Dec. 2, 2013 — African-American men raised in single-parent households in Washington, D.C., had higher blood pressure as adults than men raised by two parents, according to a study in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
The study is the first to link childhood family living arrangements to adult blood pressure in African- American men, who have higher rates of high blood pressure than men in other ethnic groups.
“If the childhood environment’s influence on blood pressure is confirmed, it suggests that policies and programs designed to create and maintain family stability in childhood could have a long-lasting impact on the risk of hypertension,” researchers said.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health examined data on 515 men participating in a long-term Howard University Family Study. After adjusting for adult factors associated with blood pressure — age, exercise, smoking, body weight and medical history — they found:
- Men who lived with both parents during one or more years of their childhoods had 4.4 mm Hg lower systolic (top number) blood pressure than those raised entirely in single-parent homes.
- Living at least part of childhood with both parents was associated with improved pulse pressure (the change in blood pressure when the heart contracts) and the average blood pressure throughout a heartbeat cycle (average arterial pressure).
- Men who spent one to 12 years of their childhood with both parents had an average 6.5 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure and a 46 percent lower chance of being diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- African-American children who live with their mothers alone are three times more likely to be poor, and those who live with fathers or a non-parent are twice as likely to be poor.
- Compared to those who are raised by their two biological parents, other children are significantly less likely to find and maintain steady employment as young adults.
- A critical period during childhood (1-12 years) and a potential mechanism through which the early life socio-familial factor operates may influence adult blood pressure.
Authors are: Debbie S. Barrington, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Adebowale A. Adeyemo, M.D.; and Charles N. Rotimi, Ph.D., M.P.H. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.
The National Institutes of Health funded the study.
For the latest heart and stroke news, follow us on Twitter: @HeartNews.
For updates and new science in Hypertension, follow @HyperAHA.
###Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.
Carrie Thacker: (214) 706-1665; email@example.com
Karen Astle: (214) 706-1392; firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Del Barto (broadcast): (214) 706-1330; email@example.com
Categories: Heart News