New Orleans, LA -- African Americans in the United States are subject to higher death rates related to coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetes than are their Caucasian counterparts. As diet is considered the single most highly correlated variable with elevated blood lipid levels, special attention must be paid to the food intake habits of this population.
An earlier study of health habits among a sample of urban teenagers found African American females had the poorest health habits due to their high intake of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, salt and simple sugars. It has been previously observed that children from low-income families, children living at or below the poverty level, and African- or Mexican-American children are at higher risk for iron deficiency than are children from middle- or high-income families.
There are three major areas of concern regarding a young females diet. One is folate, one of the eight B vitamins, is vital in preventing neural tube defects (NTD) and lowering homocysteine levels, which is associated with coronary artery disease (CAD). African-American women may not be getting enough folate in their diets, which can have serious implications. Another is calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone development in children and bone integrity in women. Finally, iron, or the lack of it, may lead to hindered oxygen transport, decreased immune function, interference in cellular metabolism, and iron deficiency anemia. When there is a net negative iron balance, iron deficiency occurs.
A recent study was undertaken to compare mean dietary intakes of calcium, iron, vitamin D, and folate, against the Dietary Reference Intake values. Each dietary fat value for total fat, cho
Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society