CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Six weeks of weight training can significantly improve blood markers of cardiovascular health in young African-American men, researchers report in the Journal of Human Hypertension.
The researchers measured blood markers associated with inflammation, immune response or the remodeling of arteries that normally occur after tissue damage, infection or other types of stress. They found that levels of two of these markers dropped significantly in African-American men but not in Caucasian men after six weeks of resistance training.
"This suggests that resistance exercise training is more beneficial in young African-American men than in Caucasian men of the same age," said Bo Fernhall, the dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Fernhall led the study as a professor in the department of kinesiology and community health at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The 14 African-American and 18 Caucasian study subjects were matched for body mass index, cardiovascular fitness and age. None had previously been trained in endurance or resistance exercise.
African-Americans are known to have higher rates of cardiovascular disease than Caucasians, Fernhall said. In particular, "hypertension, stroke and kidney disease are much, much higher in the African-American population," he said.
Some of these problems start young.
"Higher blood pressures in African-American children have been shown as young as 8 to 10 years of age," Fernhall said. "So there's obviously something going on that predisposes the African-American population to end stage disease, hypertension and stroke and the more debilitating diseases later on in life."
A previous study led by Fernhall and his doctoral student Kevin Heffernan (an author on the new paper as wel
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign