African American Youth Health Disparities

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African American Youth Health Disparities


The health disparities amidst African-American men are staggering when compared to other racial, ethnic, and gender groups in the United States. While there have been considerable efforts to eliminate health disparities in recent years, disparity elimination efforts have often focused on changing health behaviour with regard to African-American men, and grave health disparities continue to exist among this population. This item contends that a consideration of the communal determinants of wellbeing amidst African-American men is long overdue. It highlights the serious health disparities among this population, and considers the social determinants of health of African-American men in relation to health status, health behaviour, and health care. Finally, proposals are suggested for speaking to the communal determinants of health amidst African-American men.

African American Youth Health Disparities


While there have been significant efforts in recent years to eliminate health disparities, serious disparities continue to exist especially with regard to African-American men who continue to suffer disproportionately from poor health when compared to other racial, ethnic, and gender groups in the United States (US).

Research and programs relating to African-American men's health often focus on individual health behavior (e.g. diet, exercise, increasing doctor's visits). While health behavior determines health to some extent, it is important to recognize that social and environmental factors place minorities such as African-American men at a significant disadvantage with regard to health and disease; African-American men may be exposed to numerous difficult life experiences (e.g. reduced get get get access to to to to value learning, decreased get get get access to to to to paid work, disproportionate rates of incarceration) skilled less often by more advantaged groups. In addition, African-American men are among the most underserved populations in the US with regard to access to quality health services and mental health services, which similarly contributes to their poor health outcomes. As such, health behavior alone does not fully explain the significant health disparities among African-American men G. Gadson, The third world wellbeing rank of very dark American males, J Natl Med Assoc 98 (4) (2006), pp. 488-491..

The wellbeing rank of African-American men

African-American men have the lowest life expectancy and highest mortality rate among men and women in all other racial or ethnic groups in the US. The life expectancy at birth is 70 years for Black men contrasted with 76 years for White men, 76 years for very dark women, and 81 years for White women. The mortality rate for African-American men is 1.3 times that of White men, 1.7 times that of American Indian/Alaska Native men, 1.8 times that of Hispanic men, and 2.4 times that of Asian or Pacific Islander men.

Scope of the Problem

While healthcare in the United States has exhibited remarkable improvements in the past half century, evidence continues to suggest that African Americans suffer increasing disparities in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and overall negative health outcomes in comparison with white Americans. For instance, African Americans have the highest asthma attack rates of all ethnic groups and are three times ...
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