Increasing Number of Studies Demonstrate Link Between Racial Discrimination, Poor Health
The Boston Globe on Sunday looked at the "fast-growing field of research documenting how racism literally hurts the body." In the last few years, there have been more than 100 studies documenting how racial discrimination affects physical health. According to proponents, the "sheer breadth" of the research means that its conclusions are important, though critics of the studies say that racial discrimination cannot be effectively measured, the Globe reports. According to the Globe, research linking racial discrimination and health outcomes is "beset by unknowns," including:
- A "concrete, agreed-upon definition" for racial discrimination;
- Whether exposure to racism produces disease or if disease sets in after a threshold has been reached;
- Whether exposure to racism during certain periods of life is more risky than at other times; and
- Why some people affected by racism cope better than others.
The research also is difficult to undertake in part because of the hardship in obtaining funding and reluctance by some institutions to participate in the studies, the Globe reports (Drexler, Boston Globe, 7/15). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.