Barbecued pork or fried chicken served with a heaping side of mac and cheese or creamy potato salad, sweet tea and peach cobbler — these Southern classics, loaded with as much history as flavor, have become comfort foods for Americans from all over.
But a study published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Associationsuggests that Southern cuisine isn’t serving African-Americans, whose ancestors imagined and perfected it, very well. The Southern diet may be at the center of a tangled web of reasons why black people in America are more prone to hypertension than white people.
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham crunched data collected from nearly 7,000 men and women older than 45 living across the U.S. — not just in the South — over the course of a decade. Their goal: to figure out why black Americans are at greater risk for high blood pressure.
Over the course of the study, 46 percent of black participants and 33 percent of white participants developed hypertension — and diet seemed to explain much of the disparity.