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SCIENCE REPORT - July 18, 2001: Men's Heart Risk - 2001-07-17

This is the VOA Special English Science Report.

A recent American study shows that a man’s race and where he lives affect his chances of dying of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carried out the study. Elizabeth Barnett of West Virginia University was the lead writer of the study.

The scientists studied American men who died of heart disease between Nineteen-Ninety-One and Nineteen-Ninety-Five. The men were thirty-five or older.

The study showed that African-American men are twenty-six percent more likely than white men to die of heart disease. Black men are almost two times as likely as Hispanic men to die of heart disease. White men are the second highest risk group. American Indians, Alaska Native men and Hispanic men of all races followed. Asian and Pacific Islander men have the fewest heart disease deaths.

The study found that men who live in three southern states have the highest rate of dying of heart disease. They are Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky. Colorado, Utah and Hawaii have the lowest heart disease death rates.

The researchers found that men who live in most major cities have low to moderate heart disease death rates. But New York City has some of the highest death rates for the disease.

The researchers say they do not believe differences in genes increase heart disease risk. Instead, they blame social conditions like lack of jobs. For example, a number of southern areas with high unemployment had many heart disease deaths. The scientists also blame poor working conditions, bad diet and lack of good health services.

Mizz Barnett said the highest death rates from heart disease are in states with the poorest economies and few health care resources. She said this is especially true in underdeveloped areas far from cities.

The Surgeon General of the United States, David Satcher, also commented on the study. He said too many men, especially men of color, are dying from a disease that can be prevented. He said heart disease can be prevented by changing lifestyles and social conditions in communities. These changes include providing healthy foods, exercise centers and jobs in healthy workplaces.

This VOA Special English Science Report was written by Jerilyn Watson.