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Neighborhood ‘redlining’ places Blacks in danger of heart failure


New study from American Heart Assn.

By Kristina Dixon | Across Black America

Redlining neighborhoods and communities affects more than what school your children go to.

A new study from American Heart Association’s journal Circulation showed that Black adults living in areas affected by discriminatory housing practices like redlining are at high risk for heart failure.

The analysis, published as part of the journal’s “Disparities in Cardiovascular Medicine Special Issue,” studied more than two million adults between 2014-2019 who lived in various communities with redlining issues beginning in the mid-1930s.

After an analysis was conducted, an estimated half of residents’ conditions can be explained by high levels of socioeconomic distress.

Research on these issues has gone on for years. Past studies show Black redlining residents are at higher risk for stroke, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. Heart failure was recently added to the list which disproportionately impacts Black adults, according to the 2023 Statistical Update by AHA.

Study co-senior author, Shreya Rao, M.D., M.P.H., said these studies show how the past is still affecting us today. “Although discriminatory housing policies were effectively outlawed nearly a half-century ago, the relationship between historic redlining practices and people’s health today gives us unique insight into how historical policies may still be exerting their effects on the health of many communities,” Rao said.

According to CNN, financial institutions were openly engaging in racist lending practices in the early 1930s. Banks would deny loans and insurance to Black people hoping to purchase houses outside undesirable areas of cities. The process was dubbed “redlining,” a color-coding system for neighborhoods across the country based on “risk for investment,” deemed red areas, which were predominantly Black communities. Although it was outlawed by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, redlining created unfair practices for future generations.

When it comes to white adults living in redlining zones, the study found they aren’t at much risk for health issues.