Introduction

Community health promotion is the process of improving the lives of the members of the community. It includes planned activities and programs that are geared towards improving health outcomes. Health promotion improves the health status of the community as it focuses on keeping people healthy (Rural Health Information, n.d.). Communities can benefit from health promotion activities and programs as they are empowered to engage in healthy behaviors and reduce the risk of chronic disorders.

Population

African Americans are the second-biggest minority group in the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau (2019), African Americans account for 13.4% of the total U.S. population.

Demographics

African Americans are the second-biggest minority group in the United States after Hispanics. As per data from the 2019 census, they account for 134% of the total United States population, approximately 46.8 million. This is a significant increase for a minority group who were 10 million in 2000. The median age of African Americans in 2019 is 35, making them younger than the white population. However, the median age varies across the black population, with the total median age being 32. Most of the population lives in the South in states like Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.



Socioeconomics

Socioeconomics includes education, income, financial security, social status, and social class. African Americans lie other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States have to suffer from discrimination and marginalization. According to A.P.A. (2017), 39% of African American adolescents and children live in poverty. Their unemployment rate is also higher in comparison to whites. The labor statistics also show that those working full-time only earn 72% of the average earnings (A.P.A., 2017). The unemployment rate for African Americans is higher, with graduates being unemployed. An estimated 12.4% of the graduates aged 22 and 27 were unemployed in 2013 (A.P.A., 2017). There has been a significant improvement in education for African Americans, with the dropout falling in the past two decades. However, marginalization has denied African American students the resources that would enable them to perform better academically. Less than 30% own houses, with a majority of African Americans renting houses.

Environmental Hazards

African Americas are affected by water contamination. There are various environmental hazards, including chemical hazards, biological hazards, ergonomic hazards, unseen hazards, and electrical hazards. African Americans are more exposed to environmental hazards than other populations due to their socioeconomic status. They live in neighborhoods that expose them to air pollution than the other races. Water contamination is regarded as a significant problem affecting communities in low-income areas. The majority of these communities are African Americans who are affected by contaminated water. Young children end up suffering from water-borne diseases, blood disorders, and cancer.



Access to Healthcare

Access to healthcare is one of the major problems affecting the United States healthcare system. Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.) was developed to ensure minorities like African Americans have access to health and healthcare services. However, the United States still faces issues with health disparities due to implicit bias and racial disparities in healthcare (Noonan et al., 2016). Racial disparities have led to black getting sicker and dying earlier in comparison to whites. They are not receiving the same quality of care in comparison to the whites. Minorities like blacks have lower rates of insurance coverage and access to care. Lacking insurance coverage hurts access to healthcare and leads to adverse health outcomes.

The socioeconomic status of blacks means that they have few options when it comes to access to healthcare. Their employers cover a majority of Americans. The rest have to either purchase private insurance or receive medical services through Medicaid and Medicare. Few of them are covered through their employers, with a majority being affected by implicit bias and racial disparities in healthcare.

Mortality and Morbidity

African American children are living with diseases that are common among the elderly (C.D.C., 2017). This means that they are more likely to die early than whites. They are more affected by social determinants of health. The population is highly affected by social factors that heavily contribute to the problems facing them. Social issues like unemployment and poverty have an impact on their health. Mortality and morbidity risk factors affecting African Americans include hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and obesity.

Hypertension

Hypertension affects more than a third of the United States population (Ferdinand & Saunders, 2006). African Americans suffer from hypertension more in comparison to the other races in the U.S.A.  Hypertension leads to organ damage in African Americans, which leads to shorter lives. According to C.D.C. (2017), African Americans are more likely to die younger from all causes. The prevalence rate of hypertension is higher in adults between the ages of 50 and 64, but young African Americans also live with the disease. There is a need for the management of hypertension among young adults through various interventions.



Diabetes

African Americans are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. This is due to various factors like genetics, obesity which is the leading risk factor for diabetes, and insulin resistance (Marshal, 2005). They have a higher risk factor of diabetes due to health disparities in the U.S. and poor glycaemic control. Obesity is a result of a sedimentary lifestyle and poor nutrition choices. Diabetes is considered the seventh reason for death in the United States. African Americans are more likely to die from diabetes than the other races.

Stroke

Stroke affects African Americans more than the other races in the United States. African Americans are 50% more likely o have a stroke than other races. They are 70% more likely to die from stroke than Hispanics. The reason why the prevalence rate of stroke is high among African Americans is high blood pressure. C.D.C. (2017) states that high blood pressure is standard among young African Americans, which increases the risk of dying young. African Americans do not control high blood pressure well, increasing the risk factor for stroke.

Cardiovascular disease

African Americans have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the other races. They are 30% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than other races like white Hispanics. Cardiovascular disease is associated with the high rate of obesity among African Americans. The other risk factors for cardiovascular disease include diabetes and hypertension, all of which have high prevalence rates among African Americans.



Health Promotion Activities

Obesity is the leading risk factor for the above health issues facing African Americans. Sedimentary lifestyle is the leading cause of obesity, and health promotion activities should be geared towards changing such a lifestyle. Encouraging the population to engage in physical activities will be an effective method of dealing with diabetes. Physical activities will involve simple exercises like walking, swimming, jogging, and activities like swimming. Physical activities aid in weight management which is one of the main issues with diabetes. Encouraging the population to engage in physical activities will improve both the physical and mental wellbeing of the population.

Hypertension is a risk factor of cardiovascular disease, and according to Ferdinand & Saunders (2006), it affects a third of the United States population. Creating awareness and treatment of hypertension will effectively help combat the health issue (Carey et al., 2018). The impact of hypertension is massive, and ensuring the population realizes the dangers of hypertension will effectively combat the disease. The population should also be encouraged to seek treatment when people are suspected of having hypertension. Through seeking treatment, they will be advised on the appropriate methods of living with hypertension. Creating awareness and seeking treatment will also be effective for combating diabetes. The population will be taught diabetes self-management, which will improve the overall health of the population.

A healthy diet has been recommended for controlling obesity, a risk factor for diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. A healthy diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol. The health promotion activity will involve showing the population the food groupings that entail a healthy diet. Encouraging them to eat more fruits and vegetables will be effective in reducing strokes and cardiovascular disease. Food is considered a culture, and it is essential to include some healthy foods from the different cultures of African Americans.



Conclusion

Health promotion activities for the health issues identified among African Americans include creating awareness, encouraging physical activities, eating healthy, and seeking medical advice. These activities will be effective in ensuring the population overcomes some of the health issues they are facing.


References

American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethnic and Racial Minorities & Socioeconomic Status. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/minorities

Carey, R. M., Muntner, P., Bosworth, H. B., & Whelton, P. K. (2018). Prevention and Control of Hypertension: JACC Health Promotion Series. Journal of the American College of Cardiology72(11), 1278–1293. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2018.07.008

Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. (2017). African American Health. Creating equal opportunities for health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aahealth/index.html

Ferdinand KC, Saunders E. (2006). Hypertension-related morbidity and mortality in African Americans–why we need to do better. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2006 Jan;8(1 Suppl 1):21-30. DOI: 10.1111/j.1524-6175.2006.05295.x. PMID: 16415637.

Marshall MC. (2005). Diabetes in African Americans. Postgraduate Medical Journal 2005;81:734-740

Noonan, A.S., Velasco-Mondragon, H.E. & Wagner, F.A. (2016). Improving the health of African Americans in the U.S.A.: an overdue opportunity for social justice. Public Health Rev 37, 12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40985-016-0025-4

Rural Health Information Hub. (n.d.). Defining Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/toolkits/health-promotion/1/definition

United States Census Bureau (2019). Quick facts. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219