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Why Quitting is Harder for Blacks

Everyone's top New Year's Resolution - Quitting smoking is one of the top items on most people's New Year's resolutions lists, and it certainly should be if you're black because blacks are more unhealthy than whites?especially when it comes to asthma?despite the fact that African-Americans are much less likely to smoke than whites are during their teens.

However, a new study finds that most of this advantage disappears by mid-adulthood, when their health habits deteriorate. When asked by health care professionals about their health, older African-American adults consistently report poorer health than whites of the same age do.

Researcher Fred Pampel says, "There is a puzzle here, in that usually the health disadvantages in African-Americans show up early in life and get worse as they get older [but] for cigarette smoking, African-Americans tend to act in a more healthy way during their teens, but that advantage goes away by middle age.

"The narrowing differential appears to result from the greater resources that are available to whites than African-Americans. Resources such as higher income, more education, better access to medical care and greater use of nicotine replacement products help whites quit at a faster rate." This may be because, as we reported earlier, blacks are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes.

Scientists are trying to figure out why there is so much more asthma among black children. They now think it doesn?t have as much to do with where they live as where they were BORN?and HOW they were born. Researchers found that within one inner-city population, blacks born in the US are more likely to have asthma than blacks who were born outside of the United States.

Public Health researcher Doug Brugge says, "Within Asian and Hispanic populations, there is research that indicates that asthma varies between those who are born in the US and those who are foreign-born?If future research confirms that the US-born black population has a higher prevalence of asthma than the foreign-born black population, resources such as asthma screening and detection can be directed to populations or communities most in need."

Babies born by Caesarean section are also more likely to develop asthma. BBC News quotes researcher Caroline Roduit as saying, "In this situation the mother should be informed of the risk of asthma for her child, especially when the parents have a history of allergy or asthma."

Resarcher Mike Thomas agrees: "Sometimes a Caesarean section is needed for medical reasons, but where possible a natural birth is better."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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