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Minority seniors fare well in ethnically similar communities, study finds

October 19, 2012
by Sandra Hoban, Executive Editor
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Encouraging diversity has been a social goal for many years. However, a recent study suggests that for older minority adults, living in ethnically similar communities may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, which are two of the most chronic conditions and causes of death for minority seniors.

Using survey health-related data, researchers found that African-American seniors, who lived in an area of 50 percent ethnic density, were 46 percent less likely to report doctor-diagnosed heart disease and 77 percent less likely to report cancer than those in more integrated (25 percent) communities.

For Mexican-Americans living in an area with an ethnic concentration of 50 percent or more, findings showed that 33 percent and 62 percent of Hispanic seniors were less likely to report doctor-diagnosed heart disease and cancer respectively.

In an article, researchers noted that communities of similar ethnicity share the same values such as respecting elders, strong families and social support, which contributed to the positive outcomes.

The study will appear in the December issue of American Journal of Public Health.

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