What is the overall health of African-Americans in the United States?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The African-American community in the United States is historically a minority population. As of 2012, people "who identify as Black or African American (alone or in combination with another race) constitute approximately 12.9% of the American population -- about 36.4 million individuals" (cdc.gov). However, the overall health and well-being of African-Americans is significantly lower than in other population demographics.

For example, 50% of all reported HIV infections in the U.S. are in the African-American community, despite their minority status. This speaks to both education and access to preventative healthcare. Life expectancy for African-Americans is between five and ten years lower than average. Because of stigma and cultural distrust, young African-Americans are less likely to seek medical attention when sick; however, this is not due to education lapses, as a high education has no effect on likelihood of seeking medical help. All statistics show the African-American community as being under the average in contraction and treatment of disease.

Some studies have shown that African-Americans are reluctant to seek medical help because of social bias; many report hostility and low concern in hospitals. In 2004, African-Americans topped the disparity list with a staggering 2,814.3% rate of HIV infection, and were also shown to be more prone to obesity, depression, and stress-related illness. The health of the African-American community in the U.S. is therefore significantly worse than in other demographics.


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