Posted: May 23rd, 2022
African Americans are an ethnic population initially known as Afro-Americans, and it entails Americans with total or partial ancestry from black racial groups found in Africa. It is one of the most prominent ethnic groups across America. Though the majority of the African Americans are from African ancestry, others come from non-black ancestors. The term generally identifies the descendants of the Africans who were enslaved in America. They were taken away from their African homes through coercion. Their rights were significantly restricted and were, for the longest time, denied their rightful share in the pollical, social and economic progress of America. During the 21st century, more than half of the countrys population of about 36 million has a population of blacks above 1 million. African Americans were residing in th other Americans were also concentrated in part of America. Ten states in some of America’s largest cities in Detroit, Chicago, Houston, and New York, have an estimated black population of 500,000 to 1 million.
According to a survey conducted by the office of minority health, African Americans are more susceptible to heart diseases, cancer, stroke, asthma, pneumonia, influenza, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS than their white counterparts. However, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that African Americans live longer. The mortality rate for African Americans has reduced by approximately 25% in the past 17 years, mainly for those above 65 years. Even with this discovery, the young African Americans live with or succumb to conditions found among the old white Americans. These diseases appear among the black American populations in their 20s, 30s, or 40s and are mostly fatal. Some of the risk factors could be silent and not well diagnosed in the early years.Similarly African America has preferences in diet due to cultural influences. They prefer soul food which has led to various health issues for African Americans. Soul food entails fried foods and fatty meats cooked with lots of gravies. They associate these kinds of foods with their slavery history and social interactions.
The majority of the experts blame the soul food diet. This type of food’s cooking and eating traditions entail deep-fried dishes or foods cooked the entire day; they are often soaked in fat, laden with sugar, salt, and calories. These nutritional disparities go above consuming soul food. Numerous factors result in these poor outcomes, including changes in the family structure, poverty, limited access to healthy food, low levels of income, and so on. The behavioral risk factor surveillance reveals that only 21.3% of African Americans consume vegetables and fruits more than five times daily, accounting for the lowest ethnic or racial group. According to research, most African Americans are disproportionately influenced by conditions that are common and preventable.
The health differences between the African Americans and the white Americans are because of the difference in social and economic conditions, which are more persistent among black Americans than white Americans. For instance, most African Americans claim they cannot afford to go to the hospital or seek a diagnosis from private doctors because of the high cost of healthcare. The racism system in America entails practices, policies, and structures that assign value and determine an individual’s opportunity based on how individuals look and the color of their skin. The outcome is an unfair rly advantage for some and a disadvantage for others in society.
Culture influences the African Americans’ recipients of health care, and still, a significant number do not accept modern health care. This is due to distrust and mistreatment, which emanates from historical discrimination and racism, including the Tuskegee syphilis experiment conducted on the enslaved people. Based on the African American culture, most African Americans prefer care from their loved ones compared to a professional medical team. Their spirituality also guides them more to pray instead n than opt for end-of-life alternatives.
Discrimination and the limited opportunities in education lead to the blacks disproportionately working in low-paying jobs with significant health risks. They primarily work in the migrant farms, fast foods, and textile industries. The historical and the current racism in the land and planning policy plays a significant role in the health status of black African Americans. Even after controlling their income level, the blacks mostly have toxic materials and various unhealthy substances within their communities compared to the whites. For instance, there is an overconcentration of tobacco and alcohol outlets and the illegal and legal dumping of pollutants, posing significant health risks to the minority groups.
About 72.5 % of the blacks graduate from high school compared to Hispanic whites (87%), and more whites than blacks et bachelor’s degrees. The rates of unemployment were high among the blacks compared to the whites. Individuals who are generally well-educated experience higher levels of self-reported health and experience low levels of disability, mortality, and morbidity. As a result of facing o education opportunities, they cannot seek excellent health care because low education leads to poor jobs and low incomes.
Black African Americans have engaged in various health promotional activities to improve the health of this population. In 2010 president Barack Obama an African American signed the Affordable Care Act into law. This has helped increase the affordability and quality of health care through increased access to insurance. This law has helped reduce healthcare costs and increase the accountability of insurance companies. More so, the African American s have been working hard toward health literacy. They aim to have an educated and informed group to utilize health care services effectively. Health care literacy helps obtain, process, and comprehend health information essential in making necessary health decisions.
The three levels of health promotion include the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The primary level includes health promotion/prevention activities for intervening before the health effects. For African Americans, the immediate health promotion is increasing the health facilities in the areas occupied mainly by African Americans and reducing the toxic businesses of fast food, tobacco, and alcohol. The secondary promotion activity determines the diseases to screen at the earliest points possible. This can be done by sensitizing the population about common disorders in their areas, their symptoms, and when to seek medical care. For instance, diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure are common; hence conducting regular tests on the African American populations in different areas can help early diagnosis. The tertiary level focuses on softening the influence of an ongoing injury and illness with long-term impacts. It also entails enhancing treatment and recovery. After giving the black Africans access to quality and affordable health care to maintain their health, they need to be taken out of poverty, and this can be done by offering them better job opportunities with better income so they can afford better nutritional foods and enjoy life and reduce chances of acquiring depression-related diseases. The most effective approach of the three is the primary level approach because it is easier to prevent health effects than treat and recover from their impact. Hence increasing the affordability and quality of health care ensures that the black African population gets the health care service needed.
Before creating a health plan, it is essential to understand that this population has a biased attitude towards health care. Given the history of discrimination and slavery, they believe more in traditional healing doctors, and most prefer to pray for treatment and recovery. The accommodation/ negotiation model does not ask the African Americans to forego their cultural beliefs. Instead, it embraces their ideas about prayer for healing and, at the same time, suggests more improved methods of maintaining their health. For instance, doctors can provide healthy alternatives for this population. Instead of only relying on their family members for health care, they should also provide room for health care professionals to diagnose and treat them.
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