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Weight-Lifting May Boost Heart Health in Black Men: Study
Date:1/3/2013

THURSDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A little weight training may go a long way toward helping improve the heart health of black men, new research suggests.

Just six weeks of resistance exercise appears to have a positive impact on the blood levels of key indicators for inflammation, immune response and/or artery shape among black men. Such indicators, or "markers," are known to rise in conjunction with tissue damage, infection and stress. But after weight training, levels of two of the markers dropped in these patients, the researchers found.

However, while the association was observed among black men it was not found among white exercisers. This caveat tracked an earlier finding by the same research team that showed that while black men who lifted weights experienced a drop in an important post-injury/infection inflammation marker known as C-reactive protein, white men did not.

"This suggests that resistance exercise training is more beneficial in young African-American men than in [white] men of the same age," Bo Fernhall, dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), said in a university news release.

Fernhall, who led the study as a professor in the department of kinesiology and community health at UIC's Urbana-Champaign campus, and colleagues reported their findings online recently in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

The researchers noted that in the United States, cardiovascular disease -- particularly in the form of high blood pressure (or hypertension), stroke and kidney disease -- is more prevalent among blacks than whites.

"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."

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