Re: race vs. longevity
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 00:55:34 EDT

In a message dated 6/9/99 21:20:58, wrote:

>With all due care required when handling any topic that refers
>in any way to race or color, please someone gently educate
>me on the relationship between race and longevity. I have
>been led to understand Asian lives longest, Anglo only slightly
>behind and both way ahead of nonasian, nonwhite. Further,
>if last week's Newsweek is to be believed, there is evidently
>a significant difference, even after socioeconomic factors are
>normalized out. What do you think? Sound true? spike

The longest-lived racial group in America is asians, whose female life expectancy is almost 90. There are indications that African-Americans are more likely to be genetically predisposed to hypertension that whites. Since their ancestral populations (West African blacks) have low hypertension rates, some people have hypothesized that this resulted from the extreme mistreatment their ancestors underwent during enslavement, transportation, and slavery. Conditions on slave ships would have killed most people who don't retain salt.

However, anybody who thinks all relevant environmental causes are controlled for with socioeconomic status is fooling himself. There are lots of environmental factors we don't know about, and things like the "French paradox" show they're important. For example, a recent study showed African-Americans are far less likely to get angiography than whites, even when their symptoms are identical.