How can one draft an introductory paragraph for an essay using the following thesis statement?"
"Heart disease and diabetes are two prevalent ailments within the African American community that share similar risk factors."
First, good job on your thesis statement. A thesis statement must tell the gist of the research in one sentence, which is precisely what you did. Kudos!
You are essentially stating that African Americans who exhibit similar biological traits are often stricken by diabetes and heart disease. Now, your second sentence must specify what are those traits. Do not explain them; just list them in the exact order that you will expand on them later in the body of the essay. Your third sentence should propose how this problem could be avoided. Therefore you will write a sentence pointing out however many solutions you propose to correct and avoid the problem. The final sentence is a chance to add more of your voice and conclude how the changes that you propose will influence the affliction of diabetes and heart disease in this particular population.
Here is an example using facts that I would use for my own study (so that you can also follow the format and add your own details).
(Thesis statement)Hypertension is a common condition among Hispanics who coincide in their biological and lifestyle risk factors . (2nd sentence, expand on the factors) These factors include high sodium consumption in the daily diet, a family history of high blood pressure and stressful working conditions.(Possible solution) Research suggests that better eating habits and daily exercise greatly reduce the incidence of hypertension despite of previous history.(Conclusion) Yet, it is the combination of education and motivation what ultimately will help deter the incidence of this potentially deadly disease.
Remember that your second sentence of the introduction should be the thesis statement of your second paragraph. In my example, the second paragraph expands on the first listed factor, which is high sodium consumption. Check out an example of what the second paragraph would look like
A study by __________ (cite your source) indicates that the average Hispanic consumes a total of _____ mg of sodium per day. Staple foods include highly seasoned rice, deep fried seasoned meats and root vegetables, mainly plantains and sweet potatoes, and highly seasoned soups. Recent statistics show that as much as _________ new hypertension cases have grown in the past _______ year. (Every fact must be cited, so keep that in mind). Here you may want to add a transition sentence that prepares the reader for the second factor. An example could be: However, people afflicted with hypertension must also consider their previous history.
Following the same format, paragraph 3 will address the second factor. In my essay, the second factor is a family history of hypertension. Again, using sources, I will cite what is known (and how it is known) about this correlation. For example:
About ______ percent of hypertension patients come from a family with a history of the same condition (cite source). This entails that the risk of developing this condition doubles is much greater. A study by _________, states that there is an incidence of ________ percentage of deaths by strokes of uncontrolled high blood pressure in Hispanics. (cite source) On a positive note, research also shows that, in a typical family of hypertension sufferers, ________ out of _________ family members are able to control their blood pressure with a lifestyle change of diet and less stress .(cite source)
Continue with this type of organized writing until you feel comfortable enough.