Experiences of racism linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women

August 15, 2013, Boston University Medical Center

According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University, African-American women who reported more frequent experiences of racism had a greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma compared to women who reported less frequent experiences.

The study, which currently appears on-line in the journal Chest, was led by Patricia Coogan, DSc, senior at SEC and research professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.

This study followed 38,142 African-American , all of whom are participants in the Black Women's Health Study (BWHS), between 1997 and 2011. They completed health questionnaires every two years. In 1997 and 2009 they provided information on their of "everyday" , like poor service in stores or restaurants, and "lifetime" racism, which was discrimination encountered on the job, in housing and by police.

The results indicate that as experiences of everyday and lifetime racism increased, the incidence of adult-onset asthma also rose, up to a 45 percent increase in women in the highest compared to the lowest category of the racism measures. Furthermore, the incidence of asthma was increased even more in women who were in the highest category of everyday racism in both 1997 and 2009, and who may have had more consistent experiences of racism over time.

"This is the first prospective study to show an association between experiences of racism and adult-onset asthma," said Coogan. "Racism is a significant in the lives of African American women, and our results contribute to a growing body of evidence indicating that experiences of racism can have adverse effects on health." The hypothesized mechanism linking experiences of racism to asthma incidence is stress and its physiological consequences, particularly effects on the immune system and the airways. "Given the high prevalence of both and of experiences of racism in African Americans, the association is of public health importance," she added.

BWHS is the largest follow-up study of the health of African American women in the United States. Led by researchers at the Slone Epidemiology Center, the BWHS has followed 59,000 African-American women through biennial questionnaires since 1995 and has led to a better understanding of numerous health conditions that disproportionately affect African-American women.

Explore further: Abuse during childhood linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women

Related Stories

Abuse during childhood linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women

December 7, 2012
According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University, African-American women who reported suffering abuse before age 11 had a greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma compared to women whose ...

Perceived racism may impact black Americans' mental health

November 16, 2011
For black American adults, perceived racism may cause mental health symptoms similar to trauma and could lead to some physical health disparities between blacks and other populations in the United States, according to a new ...

Abuse during childhood linked to uterine fibroids in African-American women

January 24, 2013
According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University, African-American women who reported sexual or physical abuse before age 11 had a greater risk of uterine fibroids in adulthood compared ...

Study finds socioeconomic status linked to weight gain and risk of obesity in African-American women

June 13, 2012
Socioeconomic status across one's lifetime is related to weight gain and risk of obesity in African American women, according to a new study led by researchers from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University. These ...

Recommended for you

Seven percent of children in orthodontic care at 'high risk' for sleep disorders, according to new research

August 21, 2018
A child who is restless, hyperactive and can't concentrate could have a problem rooted in a source parents might not suspect: a sleep disorder.

Simple leg exercises could reduce impact of sedentary lifestyle on heart and blood vessels

August 21, 2018
A sedentary lifestyle can cause an impairment of the transport of blood around the body, which increases the risk of disease in the heart and blood vessels. New research published in Experimental Physiology suggests that ...

If you've got MS, exercise means much more than moving

August 21, 2018
For people with multiple sclerosis, the meaning of exercise stretches way beyond health and keeping fit, shows new research revealing what life's really like with the condition.

Your office may be affecting your health

August 20, 2018
Workers in open office seating had less daytime stress and greater daytime activity levels compared to workers in private offices and cubicles, according to new research led by the University of Arizona.

Healthy diet linked to healthy cellular aging in women

August 20, 2018
Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in added sugar, sodium and processed meats could help promote healthy cellular aging in women, according to a new study published in the American Journal ...

Sitting for long hours found to reduce blood flow to the brain

August 20, 2018
A team of researchers with Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. has found evidence of reduced blood flow to the brain in people who sit for long periods of time. In their paper published in the Journal of Applied ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.