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Health Promotion Among African Americans

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On average African Americans are not as healthy as other populations in the United States such as the Caucasian population. There are many health issues associated with African Americans that will be discussed in order to establish what cultural, socioeconomically acknowledged barriers and cultural behaviors are to be addressed. The health status of this minority group will be talked about as well as the comparison to other populations such as Caucasian or White. There are many approaches used to promote health prevention but there is one that is primarily more effective in treating and educating patients on health prevention and promotion. Current Health Status

The current health status of African Americans has been described as poor according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010). In July 2012, 43.1 million people in the United States were Black; alone or in combination described by the Department of Public Health. While many of these people have been diagnosed with cancer, strokes, diabetes, high cholesterol and nephritis there are too many to mention. African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. In addition, they are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease and kidney disorders. Although African Americans have the same or lower rate of high cholesterol as their non-Hispanic white counterparts, they are more likely to have high blood pressure. Although African American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, they are half as likely as the non-Hispanic White population to have their blood pressure under control.

In 2010, African Americans were 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease, as compared to non-Hispanic Whites (Department of Public Health, 2010). Health Promotion of African Americans

African Americans can sometimes come from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. Because the social position does not allow them to achieve the best outcome in their health they can end up ill because they are not fully educated on healthcare options or know about their illnesses to the full extent. Education may be poorly described to them by healthcare providers because they don’t understand the language or they simply do not have control over their health in general. Housing may be poor causing diseases and illness, and transportation may not be available to make it to the emergency department or to a doctor’s office. Not having enough money may play a role in not getting the education and help that African Americans need. Health promotion interventions need to be developed to help this minority group. By banning together as a community and becoming involved in groups that educate patients are ways that this can be addressed. Individual behavior changes can also be dealt with once the barriers of this population are talked about. Health Disparities of African Americans

There are many gaps that exist between the African American population and the healthcare system. The prevalence of health issues such as diabetes, stroke, and cancer exist among African Americans. Because of the inability to get good quality care due to poor socioeconomic status these illnesses are very prominent in this population. At times African Americans have lower levels of education and this also plays a role in their healthcare choices. According to familiesusa.org African American women are 40 percent more likely to get breast cancer and 40 percent are also more likely to die from a stroke. This population needs to be educated on the warning signs of these diseases and also should be well informed on the prevention of these diseases. As previously mentioned healthcare workers need to be aware of these risks and be sure to address the issues with these types of patients. Health Prevention

The primary approach to health prevention may be best in the case of the African American population. By offering numerous types of education to this group about prevention of the disease or illness may stop the illness from happening in the first place. Teaching about nutrition to the patient and the family is one way to prevent illness. Informing the patient about the need to exercise and to not smoke or do other harmful drugs or alcohol is another good prevention. Encouraging African Americans to be screened for their health risks and receive regular immunizations is another good example of prevention. By doing primary prevention hopefully the second and third approach to health promotion will not be needed. To catch a disease before it comes about or to be to be screened is the best way to avoid the possible problem. Conclusion

It has been well established that African Americans have issues with their health and because of barriers that exist such as money, education and other socioeconomic conditions they are not as well educated. With today’s ever changing healthcare it should become easier to educate patients than it is. Communication and education are key to provide this group with the right information needed to be healthy. Encouraging patients to be seen by their healthcare providers more often is crucial. Prevention of disease is always the best option to any patient no matter what race.


Larson, C., Schlundt, D., Patel, K., Wang, H., Beard, K., & Hargreaves, M. (2010). Trends in smoking among African-Americans: a description of Nashville’s REACH 2010 initiative. Journal Of Community Health, 34(4), 311-320. doi:10.1007/s10900-009-9154-8CDC

National Center for Health Statistics – Homepage. /nchs/. November 3, 2011.

Source: CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2011. Table 2. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_256.pdf [PDF | 3.12MB]

Department of Public Health. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2010, from

Parrill, R., & Kennedy, B. R. (2011). Partnerships for Health in the African American Community: Moving Toward Community-based Participatory Research. Journal Of Cultural Diversity, 18(4), 150-154.

African American Health Disparities Compared to Non-Hispanic Whites. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://familiesusa.org/product/african-american-health-disparities-compared-to-non-hispanic-whites

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