According to a recent study, black may not crack on the outside, but biologically, black women are 7.5 years older than their white counterparts.
Researchers cite extreme stress as the key factor, and as a result, internal organs are worn and torn at a faster rate. Heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes result–all diseases of aging.
[Dr. Michelle Gourdine states that], “The cells that make up your heart, your blood vessels, whatever else, begin to age prematurely because of all the stress, and that predisposes you to disease,” says Gourdine, author of Reclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African American Wellness.
She points to a 2010 National Institutes of Health study titled “Do US Black Women Experience Stress-Related Accelerated Biological Aging?” The study’s authors analyzed data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation and found that black women between the ages of 49 and 55 are 7.5 years biologically “older” than white women.
“What the article seems to imply is that we just have a heavier load to carry, bottom line,” says Gourdine, currently a clinical assistant professor in the departments of pediatrics and of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and a senior associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “When you think about black women and how we’re all raised to be strong and that’s what we expect each other to be as African-American women, what comes with that is a set of added responsibilities.”
In the report, the authors wrote that “U.S. blacks are more likely to experience stressful situations, such as material hardship, interpersonal discrimination, structural discrimination in housing and employment, and multiple caregiving roles than whites.”
Thoughts on the research?
How can we lighten the load for our black women?
Sound off below!