A recent study claims that there is an association between rising BMI and heart failure in African Americans.
Kind of worrisome, wouldn’t you say?
EXCEPT, the raw data is garnered from the Jackson Heart Study.
What is the Jackson Heart Study? I’m so glad you asked.
The JHS is a large, community-based, observational study whose participants were recruited from urban and rural areas of the three counties (Hinds, Madison and Rankin) that make up the Jackson Miss, metropolitan statistical area (MSA).
Participants were enrolled from each of 4 recruitment pools: random, 17%; volunteer, 22%; currently enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, 30% and secondary family members, 31%. Recruitment was limited to non-institutionalized adult African Americans 35-84 years old, except in the family cohort where those 21 to 34 years of age were eligible. The final cohort of 5,301 participants includes 6.59% of all African American Jackson MSA residents aged 35-84 (N-76,426, US Census 2000).
So all of the participants come from three counties in Mississippi, the state that has the worst health ranking in the nation. Is ranked 49th for healthcare access and affordability; 48th for prevention and treatment, 51st for potentially avoidable hospital use, and 51st for healthy lives.
30% of the participants were already enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (in which the original participants were aged 45-64), and an additional 31% were family members of ARIC study participants.
It seems the participants on this study should not be considered representative of African American health nationwide.
And even with the deck so clearly stacked, the recent study found increasing BMI was NOT associated with risk for all-cause mortality in African Americans.
So why was this study published under the inflammatory title of:
The Obesity and Heart Failure Epidemics Among African Americans: Insights From the Jackson Heart Study
You want to know why? Because in our fat phobic, fat hating society, studies with titles like these have access to more research funding.
It should have been titled:
Some Fat African Americans in 3 Counties in Mississippi Could Sure Use Access to Better Healthcare, and as Would Most Everyone Else in the State of Mississippi.
But who is going to pay for that?