African American Health: Creating Equal Opportunities for Health

The death rate for African Americans dropped 25% from 1999-2015, but they are still more likely to die at a young age than white Americans.

  • African Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • African Americans ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure as whites.
  • African Americans ages 18 to 49 years are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease as whites.
  • Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites.

Public health agencies and community organizations should work across sectors, including education, business, transportation, and housing, to create social and economic conditions that promote health at early ages. Consumers can prevent disease and early death by eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, taking medication as prescribed, and getting screened for diseases.

[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”11″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_thumbnails” override_thumbnail_settings=”0″ thumbnail_width=”240″ thumbnail_height=”160″ thumbnail_crop=”1″ images_per_page=”20″ number_of_columns=”0″ ajax_pagination=”0″ show_all_in_lightbox=”0″ use_imagebrowser_effect=”0″ show_slideshow_link=”1″ slideshow_link_text=”[Show slideshow]” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]What Can Be Done

The Federal government is

  • Collecting data to monitor and track health and conditions that may affect health, such as poverty and high school graduation rates, through Healthy People 2020. http://bit.ly/2oDhWV4
  • Supporting partnerships between scientific researchers and community members to address diseases and conditions that affect some populations more than others.
  • Addressing heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, which disproportionately affect African Americans, by implementing national initiatives such as Million Hearts®. http://bit.ly/2p0Ux0N
  • Supporting actions to create healthy food environments and increase physical activity in underserved communities.

Public health professionals can

  • Use proven programs to reduce disparities and barriers to create opportunities for health.
  • Work with other sectors, such as faith and community organizations, education, business, transportation, and housing, to create social and economic conditions that promote health starting in childhood.
  • Link more people to doctors, nurses, or community health centers to encourage regular and follow-up medical visits.
  • Develop and provide trainings for healthcare professionals to understand cultural differences in how patients interact with providers and the healthcare system.

Community organizations can

  • Train community health workers in underserved communities to educate and link people to free or low-cost services.
  • Conduct effective health promotion programs in community, work, school, and home settings.
  • Work across sectors to connect people with services that impact health, such as transportation and housing.
  • Help people go see their doctor, take all medications as prescribed, and get to follow-up appointments.

Healthcare providers can

  • Work with communities and healthcare professional organizations to eliminate cultural barriers to care.
  • Connect patients with community resources that can help people remember to take their medicine as prescribed, get prescription refills on time, and get to follow-up visits.
  • Learn about social and economic conditions that may put some patients at higher risk than others for having a health problem.
  • Collaborate with primary care physicians to create a comprehensive and coordinated approach to patient care.
  • Promote a trusting relationship by encouraging patients to ask questions.

 

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