Study Finds That Increasing Educational Opportunities May Narrow the Racial Health Gap

A new study led by Kara Whitaker, an assistant professor on the department of health and human psychology at the University of Iowa, finds that better educational opportunities and higher incomes may be key to closing the gap of cardiovascular health behaviors — including smoking, physical activity, and diet quality — between Black and White Americans.

After examining 30 years of data on cardiovascular health behaviors, researchers found that income and educational level influenced the differences in health behaviors between the racial groups more than other variables.

“The gap in education and income are the critical causes,” says Dr. Whitaker. “Societal structure makes it more challenging for Black Americans to have the same level of socioeconomic status as Whites. This study highlights the profound impact of socioeconomic factors, which are mostly beyond an individual’s control, on health behaviors.”

Dr. Whitaker recommends increasing educational opportunities for low-income African Americans. “Making the same educational opportunities available to low-income individuals, regardless of race, would be a great starting point,” Dr. Whitaker says. “A lot of people born into poverty have less opportunity to go to college, for example. That’s one area that could be addressed.”

The study, “Racial Disparities in Cardiovascular Health Behaviors: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study,” was published on the website of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs