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Because of genetics, environmental factors, availability to care, and culture, each ethnic group has a unique health condition. The majority of these worries are shared by black Americans, who account for around 13% of the total population. High blood pressure, obesity, AIDS, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer are the most common health concerns. Despite improvements in residents' overall health and increases in health-care spending, there has been little progress among this minority population. Cancer, stroke, and diabetes are the next three top causes of death, with heart disease coming in second, third, and fourth, respectively. Some of the causes linked to the disparities in health vary, however, social economic status play a key role. African Americans have a low socioeconomic status and live in abject poverty. Their lower social status often emanate from insufficient housing, poor nutrition, adverse social and work environment and also lack of or limited access to health care. Additionally, fewer social facilities impact health (Williams & Jackson, 2005). The impact of low socioeconomic state on morbidity and mortality is more widespread among this group.
Many African Americans are uneducated hence lack basic knowledge on healthcare and may not seek it when they are feeling unwell. Also they have the highest poverty rates and unemployment rates among minority groups. They also lead unhealthy lifestyles. HIV/ AIDS is prevalent among them in the present times due to engaging in risky sexual behaviors and also using drugs. African Americans are also consuming fast foods. They have the highest rates of obesity in the country, 58% of black males and 69$ of black females are obese (Meyer, Yoon & Kaufmann, 2013). Being obese makes one more probable to developing high blood pressure than when he or she is in their ideal weight. Many black Americans are suffering from health problems related to obesity like stroke, asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and orthopedic issues.
Another factor that causes these health disparities is the lack of health insurance. Most minority group lack insurance or are underinsured. The absence of insurance in addition to poverty and the lack of employment means that the African American cannot afford health care. Black Americans also feel alienated from government. They have a strong distrust of the government, its agencies and information (Meyer, Yoon & Kaufmann, 2013). This means they do not regard the information offered by the government nor participate in health empowerment programs that could enhance their health status.
In recent years there have been efforts to promote health among the minority groups. Efforts are geared more towards African Americans. Tuskegee syphilis exploration greatly made their group to distrust the government. The study involved African American males where they were infected with syphilis and were never treated. They were left to die for the sake of "study" in spite of being the breadwinners in their families. This contributed to fear of going doctors amongst the people and prefer using home remedies (Meyer, Yoon & Kaufmann, 2013). For health promotion programs to works, these people need to be well educated and offer sufficient information on the importance of health promotion and prevention.
Primary prevention is the most suitable action for health promotion. The diseases that cause most deaths are related to unhealthy lifestyles. This can be achieved by organizing health fairs, workshops, and health talks within the community. Education and assessing unhealthy lifestyles are relevant measures in alleviating lifestyle diseases. Whereas they are numerous education programs accessible to black Americans on chronic diseases and unhealthy lifestyles, they are not keen in seeking preventive care. Some of the obstacles that prevent them from looking for health care and health promotion are their socioeconomic state, masculinity, discrimination, societal influences or not having the relevant information on why they need to seek medical care (Williams & Jackson, 2005). This is the right to be a way of tackling these barriers.
Among the ways of providing information are carrying out health fairs. Fairs permit a health profession to work in a specific community to discern the distinctive needs for health promotion and offer essential education and preventative information. Screenings and presentations are ideal methods of delivering health information to a big populace and could motivate a community to make better health decisions (Meyer, Yoon & Kaufmann, 2013).. Health fairs offer crucial information which ultimately saves and enhances lives. A properly planned health fair supports more efficient health promotion exercises, education and evaluations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also play an important role in trying to eliminate the barriers. They developed Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program (REACH) which partnered with different agencies to enhance the health disparities affecting minority groups. Through it, organizations utilize community-driven; evidence-focused and culturally customized innovations for a wide range of health conditions. Some of their key successes include the reduction in smoking prevalence among Latinos. There were also reports of better nutrition with increase in fruit and vegetable intake (Centers for Disease Control, 2017). Another program is Happy People 2020, which aims at mentoring and equipping the minority with information on the Importance of preventive heath care and seeking medications. The Obama Administrations Natural Prevention) Strategy and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was also put in place to promote health and make it affordable for all.
Some of the health disparities experienced by the Black Americans are high mortality rates.Infant morality is another concern which occurs at the rate of 14.1% per live births (Meyer, Yoon & Kaufmann, 2013). This is twice the rate of the whites. Adults have highest rates of heart disease and stroke. In fact, it is the leading cause of death among these groups. Studies show that black Americans are 20% more likely to die from this heart disease (Meyer, Yoon & Kaufmann, 2013).. Additionally, they also have high prevalence of high blood pressures.
Cancer is another menace confronting this group. According to Center for Disease Control, African Americans are more likely to suffer or die from cancer than any other group. Diabetes is another menace with more than 2.2 million blacks having it. Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent accounting for 90 percent of all infection (Meyer, Yoon & Kaufmann, 2013). Center for Disease Control (2017) shows that in the recent past HIV infection is prevalent among this group. It is the main cause of death for men aged 25-44 years.
As stated before primary health promotion prevention is the most ideal amongst this group. What destroys minority groups in general is the lack of knowledge. If they are empowered, they understand the implications of their actions on their health. A person cannot be persuaded to seek medical care when he does not see or understand its importance. They might see a doctor then fail to take the prescribed medication. Most health disparities are due to unhealthy lifestyles, it is better to prevent then rather than waiting to occur then treat them.
Meyer, P. A., Yoon, P. W., & Kaufmann, R. B. (2013). Introduction: CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report-United States, 2013. MMWR supplements, 62(3), 3-5.
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) | At A Glance Reports | Publications | Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion | CDC. (2017). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 8 February 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/reach.htm
Williams, D. R., & Jackson, P. B. (2005). Social sources of racial disparities in health. Health affairs, 24(2), 325-334.
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