1/29/2014 feature story
Emerging Disparities in Chronic Disease Risk Among Young Adults
The goal of this project is to examine early life influences on racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease risk from an interdisciplinary perspective. Although chronic diseases exact their greatest toll on adults, their biological and behavioral origins are apparent much earlier in the life course. Research in this area has been hampered by data limitations, and little is known about the extent to which racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease risk have emerged by young adulthood, nor how disparities in chronic disease risk and health-related behaviors are determined by social and behavioral factors operating over time at multiple contextual levels. We will use data from all four waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to describe young adult racial and ethnic disparities in behavioral and biological indicators of chronic disease risk; investigate the behavioral pathways and trajectories leading to racial and ethnic disparities in early adult chronic disease risk; and study how background and intermediate social, demographic, and economic factors, operating at multiple contextual levels and over the lifecourse, influence racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease risk. A key focus of this work will be the public policy implications of the findings and, in particular, ways in which racial and ethnic disparities in emerging chronic disease can be reduced or eliminated.
Narayan Sastry, Philippa J. Clarke
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