In a study of African-American men, researchers from the National Institutes of Health found that boys who grew up in two-parent homes were less likely to have high blood pressure as adults compared to those raised by a single parent. Reported in the Dec. 12, 2013, issue of the journal Hypertension, this is the first study of an African-American population to document an association between childhood family living arrangements and blood pressure.
“Family structure is among a slew of environmental influences that, along with our genes, help determine our health as adults,” said Dan Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., scientific director, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). “This study makes important observations about home life that may affect susceptibility to complex diseases later on in life.”
Researchers from NHGRI and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), both parts of NIH, conducted the study.
The researchers analyzed blood pressure rates and the incidence of hypertension, a persistent state of high blood pressure, in a group of 515 African-American men enrolled in the Howard University Family Study (HUFS). The NIH-funded study conducted in the 2000s produced a repository of health history information about a group of African-American families from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.