Certain racial and ethnic minorities often may tend to be at a greater risk of developing adverse health conditions than the general population. Therefore, it is paramount to take steps aimed at reducing the incidence of disease among these people. The current paper discusses the health issues that African Americans are disproportionately faced with, consider some of the reasons for the said disparity, and proposes health promotion methods that might be used to prevent one of these conditions.
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Current Health Status of African Americans
On the whole, African Americans tend to suffer from a variety of health problems that negatively affect their quality of life and their average life expectancy. Even though it is stressed that death rates among Black persons have decreased by nearly 25% over 17 years, these people still tend to suffer from a multitude of health issues (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2017). For example, it is averred that nearly 12% of Black individuals aged 18-34 have hypertension; these rates are 33% and 61% for African Americans aged 35-49 and 50-64, respectively (CDC, 2017). For the same age groups, diabetes can be encountered in 1.5%, 10%, and 23% of African Americans, respectively; and 0.7%, 2%, and 7% of Black persons from these age groups, respectively, experienced stroke (CDC, 2017).
The Existing Health Disparities for African Americans
Generally speaking, the health status of African Americans has been improving throughout the last few years; nevertheless, when it comes to a wide array of health issues, Black persons are still at a greater risk of developing these conditions than, e.g., Caucasians (CDC, 2017). Also, individuals of African origins suffer or die from diseases that tend to be found in White members of the U.S. population of more advanced ages (CDC, 2017). For instance, African Americans tend to suffer from hypertension and diabetes and experience stroke more often than White people, and the onset of these conditions usually occurs in Black persons of younger age (CDC, 2017). It is also pivotal to note that individuals of African origins have a much greater incidence of HIV; in 2010, Black people accounted for nearly 44% of cases of HIV, even though only 14.2% of the U.S. population are African Americans (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2018).
There might exist a variety of causes for these health disparities, including genetic ones; in other words, the genotypes of individuals who have the race and ethnicity of African Americans might make them more predisposed to certain diseases. Nevertheless, it is clear that a multitude of cultural, socioeconomic, and sociopolitical reasons also have a strong impact on the health status of African Americans. Due to historical causes, Black persons generally tend to live in poverty more often than White people; they usually have worse education than white individuals; and they often suffer from racial discrimination (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016). This results in a variety of adverse facts. For instance, African Americans are unemployed more often than White people; they may have no access to high-quality food and health care; and they lead less healthy lifestyles (CDC, 2017). Therefore, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and cultural factors play a significant role in the fact that African Americans have greater rates of health problems than e.g. White persons.
How Health Promotion Is Defined for African Americans
Among African Americans, health promotion is defined in a variety of ways; however, in many cases, it is needed to take into account the specific reasons that cause a greater incidence of health problems in this subpopulation (CDC, 2016). As a consequence, health promotion among Black individuals should include dealing with the root causes of the greater incidence of diseases. This involves addressing the socioeconomic and sociopolitical issues affecting this population. Health promotion also needs to be directly aimed at improving the health of the targeted individuals and providing them with patient education, thus allowing them to better care about themselves.
An Approach to Health Problems Prevention
It is possible to consider an approach aimed at the prevention of such a health problem as diabetes. On the primary level, it may be recommended to use interventions proposing changes to the diet and lifestyle of African Americans to reduce behaviors that make the development of diabetes more likely (Dunkley et al., 2014). Secondary prevention should involve regular screening of individuals who may have a high risk of developing diabetes and identifying those who have borderline levels of glucose in their blood. Tertiary prevention may be used for those who are at an early stage of diabetes, while the disease might still be reversible. This may include losing weight and changing diet (Dunkley et al., 2014). Following these guidelines may be the most effective choice because they are aimed at targeting the condition in question as early as possible and addressing its root causes while it is still possible to reverse the development of the disease.
On the whole, it should be stressed that African Americans tend to be faced with certain adverse health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, HIV, and stroke, more often than White individuals. In part, this is a result of several socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and cultural factors. Therefore, to reduce the incidence of these diseases, it is needed to target these factors to address the causes that lead to these disparities.
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Racial and ethnic minority populations. Web.