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For young men of color, place shapes health outcomes

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Boys and men of color face a doubled risk of physical and emotional health problems, not because of their race, but because of the impoverished communities in which many live, according to a recent study.

Yesterday, the California Progress Report took a deeper look at the research, which was compiled from independent efforts at the RAND Corporation, Harvard Law School and others:

RAND investigators found that African-American and Latino children are 3.4 times more likely than white children to live in poverty, and, "on many dimensions," poverty is generally harsher for African-American and Latino children, especially if they live in poor neighborhoods. In 2006, 35 percent of black children and 28 percent of Latino children lived in poverty, compared to 11 percent of white children.

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A 2008 study of 100 large U.S. metropolitan areas conducted by Prof. Dolores Acevedo-Garcia from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that black and Latino children "consistently" lived in more "disadvantaged" neighborhoods. It noted that racial and ethnic segregation had resulted in children of color experiencing "double jeopardy" - living in both a poor family and a poor community. This amplified the effects of poverty on their health.

Poor communities are often characterized by crowding, noise, and a lack of access to healthy food, safe parks and good schools - features that contribute to physical and mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The California Endowment report found that as compared to their white counterparts, Latino boys and young men are about 4 times as likely to suffer from PTSD; and young black men are 16 times more likely to die by homicide.

Photo by discosour

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