Spotlight on Health: The African American Community
February 6, 2020
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH), in 2017, 41.4 million people in the U.S. were African American, making that group the second largest minority population in the nation, following the Hispanic population.
That same year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 22.9 percent of African Americans were living at the poverty level, compared with 9.6 percent of the white population. The unemployment rate for the African American population is twice that of the white population. Additionally, the OMH also says death rates for African Americans are higher than whites in relation to heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide.
So what exactly does all this information mean? It indicates that social factors can have an impact on the health of the African American communityThe social factors which drive this increase include unemployment, poverty, environment, lack of transportation, and lack of health care coverage; there is frequently not much an individual can do to change those factors. But that fact does not have to be the end of the equation.
Even if you are among the nearly 10 percent of the African American population or 5.9 percent of the white population which lacks health insurance, the choices one makes can help to determine overall health.
In this series, Spotlight on Health, the Telegram will examine common health issues which affect the African American community. We will provide information which will enable individuals to identify and tackle those issues and minimize risks to one's health. We will examine the interconnectedness that binds high blood pressure to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. We will look at environmental factors such as neighborhood and secondhand cigarette smoke and their impact on respiratory issues. We will also examine lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which can reduce the likelihood of developing these chronic conditions. We hope to give the community information about resources that can be useful in taking control of your health and avoiding preventable conditions. Look for Spotlight on Health in upcoming issues.