As discussed in this weeks lectures on race and genetics it is clear that there is no agreed upon connection between the two. There are obviously genetic differences that encode for superficial features such as skin color, but are there any genetic differences beyond the superficial? This is where the debate comes into play and where anthropologists are unable to come to an agreed upon answer. By looking at the graph above you can see that there is a clear trend showing higher rates of heart disease among certain races and lower rates among others. However, is this trend due to genetics or is it related more to the cultures generally associated with each race?
In this graph you can see that heart disease is highest among blacks, pacific islanders, and whites, and lowest among Hispanics, American Indians, Asians, and mixed races. According to the CDC heart disease was the number one leading cause of death among white males in 2007. While white males may not be at the highest rate for heart disease in this graph, there is a clear divide between the three races with the highest rates and the races with lower rates. There can be no certain reason for why these three races have higher rates than the others, however there are many possibilities. As discussed in this weeks lectures, some researchers believe there is a genetic link between disease and certain races and other researchers believe genetics has nothing to do with it. I believe that there is a combination of genetic factors and socio-cultural factors. Heart disease is a disease that people can be genetically predisposed to and will have a higher chance of developing. However it is unclear if this genetic predisposition is racially linked or not. It is more likely not linked to race but rather family history. A more likely explanation for why heart disease is higher among certain groups categorized racially is due to culture. Certain lifestyles, diets, and activity levels associated with these racially divided groups are likely culprits for the increased rates.
CDC. “10 leading causes of death; white population, US., 2007.” http://www.cdc.gov/omhd/Populations/White.htm.
California Department of Public Health . “Race/ethnic group differences .” http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/ohir/Pages/Heart2008Race.aspx.