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Does Ethnicity Play a Role in Heart, Stroke & Diabetes Risks?

We hear a lot about ‘race’ these days, generally in cases of biased, activism, discrimination and so on. Personally, I do not like using the term race as it is inaccurate, misleading and often racist in its connotation. We are all ONE race – the human race!

In 1995, Robert Lee Hotz, reported in the Feb. 20 issue of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Researchers adept at analyzing the genetic threads of human diversity said Sunday that the concept of race – the source of abiding cultural and political divisions in American society – simply has no basis in fundamental human biology. Scientists should abandon it, they said.”

“‘Biologically, we are saying in essence that race is no longer a valid scientific distinction,’ said Solomon H. Katz, a University of Pennsylvania anthropologist.”

“‘Race is a social construct derived mainly from perceptions conditioned by events of recorded history, and it has no basic biological reality,’ said C. Loring Brace, a biological anthropologist at the University of Michigan. (Spoken before the American Association for the Advancement of Science Convention in Atlanta, 1995)”

“The researchers were acting, in part, to correct a legacy of misconceptions about the biology of race, in which earlier generations of researchers provided the raw material for spurious claims of racial superiority. ‘They liked to concoct a biological basis for mistreating people,’ said Brown University anthropologist John Ladd.”

“One survey by Central Michigan University says more than half of all cultural and physical anthropologists no longer embrace race as a useful scientific definition.”

On Sept. 10, 1998, ABC News – Science Page stated:

“More and more scientists find that the differences that set us apart are cultural, not racial. Some even say that the word race should be abandoned because it’s meaningless.”

Again, in 1009, Darlene Applegate, Ph.D. Muskingum College New Concord, Ohio stated:

“If it is determined that races do not biologically exist, or even if they do that one is not biologically superior to others, communication of these findings to the populous may help to solve the problems associated with racism.”

This is why I prefer the term ‘ethnicity’ over race as it is more accurate in referring to geographic people groups. In this context, it has been found that some ethnic groups seem to be genetically more at risk for things like heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta and the University of California, San Francisco discovered that Americans of Hispanic and South Asian descent had higher risks of developing heart disease, diabetes and strokes, even if they were normal weight. By South Asia, they mean Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The report stated:

“Among normal-weight people, those of South Asian descent were two times more likely to have heart disease or diabetes abnormalities.”

“Normal-weight people of Hispanic descent were 80 percent more likely to have these potential problems than whites, the study found.”

“And blacks and Chinese-Americans were 50 percent more likely to have these metabolic abnormalities at a normal weight, researchers said.”

While this does not decree that everyone from these ethnic groups will have heart disease, diabetes or strokes, it should serve that these people do need to take extra care of their health and see their doctor on a regular basis.

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