Type 2 diabetes and socioeconomic status may be linked in black women

A research team at Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have found a link between socioeconomic status and the risk for type 2 diabetes in African-American women.

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and examined data from 59,000 black women throughout the U.S. since 1995. Individuals who participated in the Black Women's Health study were given a questionnaire that asked about diabetes history, and the answers were compiled with information from the United States Census to measure neighborhood socioeconomic status.

Out of a total of 46,382 African-American women who were studied, 3,833 new cases of type 2 diabetes had developed. The incidence of diabetes was the highest in women who reside in neighborhoods with low socioeconomic status.

"Our findings indicate that the risk of type 2 diabetes for African-American women is influenced not just by individual characteristics, but by the characteristics of the neighborhoods in which they live," said lead author Julie Palmer, an epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Public Health. "Even women with the highest educational levels appeared to be affected by their neighborhood environment."

Researcher Yvette Cozier added that because many African-American individuals live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, efforts should be made to improve the conditions in these areas to reduce the risk of diabetes.
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