A southern diet could be the reason that more African-Americans die from heart disease than white people. African-Americans develop high blood pressure earlier in life than whites. High blood pressure can greatly increase the risk of heart disease. The typical southern diet, which is filled with sugar, fat and salt, can cause high blood pressure.
The survey followed 6,897 over the course of nine years. The study involved both African-Americans and whites. The biggest factor that explained why African-Americans had higher rates of hypertension was the southern diet. The southern diet increased the risk of high blood pressure by 51.6 percent in African-Americans. It increased the risk of high blood pressure in whites by 29.2 percent.
George Howard is the co-author of the study. He stated that he was surprised by the findings of this study. He stated that he believed that obesity and stress played a bigger role in heart disease than diet. Not only do African-Americans eat more fat, sugar and salt, but they also eat fewer fruits and vegetables.
The southern diet can also increase the risk of obesity. A higher body mass index, or BMI, can increase the risk of heart disease. Interestingly, the study not only showed racial differences, but it also showed gender differences. The African-American women had a higher BMI than white women. However, white men and African-American men similar BMIs.
George stated that the results of the study seem grim, but there is some good news. He said that the factors that are the biggest contributors to heart disease can be changed. George stated that people can prevent heart disease by exercising and including more fruits and vegetables in their diet. However, he said that this can be challenging for some people because healthy food is typically more expensive than unhealthy food.