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College Racial Health Gap

December 21, 2017

A college education can leave some students with a health debt.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A degree in hypertension. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

College completion generally leads to better physical health. But UNC Chapel Hill researcher Kathleen Mullan Harris and her colleagues report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that low income African American and Hispanic college grads suffer from higher levels of metabolic syndrome than peers who didnt go to college. She suspects that stress is the culprit.

KATHLEEN MULLAN HARRIS (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill):

African Americans who are highly educated experience greater discrimination, more barriers, they have to strive so hard to get ahead that it takes a toll on their body.

HIRSHON:

That toll includes hypertension, inflammation and glucose intolerance. Mullan Harris says support programs focused on first generation college students could help insure that students educational success doesnt cost them their health. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon