The USA is a host to many minority groups, each of which is different by ethnicity, culture, and other factors. African Americans belong to one of the most widely represented minority groups. However, despite being one of the biggest communities in the US, this group of people faced many problems, healthcare issues being among the most severe ones. The present paper offers the analysis of health problems faced by African Americans and suggests health promotion approaches to reduce the risks.
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The Current Health Status of the Minority Group as Compared to the National Average
There are several major health disparities experienced by the African American community. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the rate of illegal drug use among this minority group in 2014 was 12.4%, whereas the national rate was 10.2% (“Racial and ethnic minority,” 2018). The ratio of binge drinking among African Americans in 2014 was 21.6%, while the national ratio was 23% (“Racial and ethnic minority,” 2018). Thus, it is possible to conclude that the levels of substance abuse in the selected group are approximately the same as the national average.
However, there are serious health conditions from which African Americans suffer more frequently than whites do. The majority of deaths in the US are related to five main chronic illnesses: cancer, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes (“Health promotion,” 2013). The minority group in question has the highest mortality estimate for three of these conditions: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke (“Health promotion,” 2013). According to statistics, African American males are 60% more likely to die from a stroke than white males. At the same time, the mortality degree from cardiovascular disease in African American females is 35% higher than in Caucasian women (“Health promotion,” 2013). Along with negative statistics, there are also some positive indications. For instance, the death rate for the minority group has decreased by 25% from 1999 to 2015 (“African American health,” 2017). Still, these citizens still have many unresolved health issues that need consideration.
Health Disparities and the Definition of Health Promotion by the Minority Groups
African Americans experience a variety of cultural, socioeconomic, and sociopolitical barriers to health. These disparities do not have a single cause, but the major reasons are as follows:
- social determinants of health, such as racism, poverty, discrimination, and lack of education;
- community and environment conditions, such as the insufficient amount of resources promoting healthy diet or physical activity;
- access to health care, such as poor quality of medical options and the lack of availability of these options;
- behavioral patterns, such as sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and poor diet (“Finding solutions,” 2017).
African Americans define health promotion as a set of measures aimed at minimizing health risks and improving healthcare opportunities. In particular, it is crucial to deal with social factors that affect this population most at the present time. The major problem to manage is the high unemployment rate (“African American health,” 2017). Also, it is necessary to provide these people with homes and reduce the levels of poverty (“African American health,” 2017). Finally, it is important to provide the minority group with the opportunity to visit a medical professional when they need it. Overcoming these issues will increase the chances of African Americans to live longer and healthier.
Health Promotion Prevention
There are three types of prevention that can be applied for managing the healthcare needs of the minority group: primary, secondary, and tertiary. This section will consider the possibilities of preventing diabetes in African Americans. At the primary level, preventive measures are taken before the disease develops (“Primary, secondary,” 2015). Thus, to avoid the appearance of diabetes, the most effective measure at this stage is avoiding obesity. At the secondary level, the earliest identification of the illness is performed to eliminate the effect of the disease (“Primary, secondary,” 2015). In the case of diabetes, it is necessary to observe glucose metabolism, which can be done through a glucose tolerance test. Tertiary prevention aims at mitigating the impact of the disease (“Primary, secondary,” 2015). To soften the effect of diabetes on the selected minority group, weight loss is recommended. These prevention measures are the most effective since they are affordable even for individuals with low income and poor access to healthcare facilities.
African Americans compose one of the biggest population groups living in the US. Unfortunately, there is inequality in these individuals’ access to health care. To increase the quality of healthcare options offered to African Americans, it is necessary to eliminate the cultural and social disparities existing in this minority group. Currently, the representatives of the African American population suffer from severe diseases at a much higher level than Caucasians. The minority group leads in the rates of the three most dangerous illnesses causing death in the US: stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In order to improve the situation, it is recommended to manage the problem of diabetes at three levels of prevention: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Taking the mentioned measure is expected to help reduce the instances of diabetes among African Americans and enhance the health level of this group.
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