African Americans are the second-largest ethnic minority in the United States of America. The African Americans trace their ancestry to slaves from Africa to the U.S in the 18th and 19th centuries. The African Americans are not limited to African racial descent only; through intermarriages, they also comprise of people with different ethnic and racial backgrounds (Franklin, 2011).
The population of African Americans was estimated to be 45 million in 2013. That was a representation of 15.2% of the total population in the United States of America. The number included the African Americans that had more than one race. The group purely identified as the African Americans accounted for 13.2 % of the U.S population. The African Americans are spread across the various states in the U.S. However, the 2013 census shows the concentration of African Americans is in the southern states and the urban areas (Welch, 2013).
Health Care Practices
The health status of African Americans lags behind that of the other racial and ethnic groups. The advancement in technology and modern medical services in America provides the basis for all citizens to seek medical treatment in the public or private healthcare services (Welch, 2013). The majority of African Americans seek medical treatment in established health care centers. However, among the old, the low income, and the African Americans residing in the rural area, there are health beliefs that encourage the use of traditional African healing practices such use of herbs.
The socioeconomic statuses of the majority of African Americans predispose them to risky health behaviors. The majority lives in low-income urban centers, which are prone to crime and violence. In addition, the settlements are near toxic waste sites. The use of drugs in low-income settlements is very high (Whitehead & Peterson, 2008). Thus, the high danger of the side effects of drug abuse and HIV infections.
Genetic Susceptibility to Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions such as type two diabetes are more prevalent among African Americans than their white counterparts. In addition, African Americans with diabetes are at higher risk of developing complications than whites. Furthermore, they are more susceptible to chronic heart diseases than the whites are (Collin & Hughes, 2002). Even though the chronic conditions are considered to be influenced by lifestyles, some genomic scientists point out that there could be an issue of African Americans having genetic factors that increase their susceptibility.
The common traditional foods prevalent among the group include pound cake, collards greens, highly salted pork, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese (Welch, 2013). It is a common practice among African Americans to enjoy high fat density foods. For instance, pork products enriched with a high content of salt and the traditional festive foods of heavy gravies made from meat and fried chicken. Their diets have lower fiber content compared to whites.
The majority of African Americans practice the Christian faith. However, diversity in religious beliefs is common. Some African Americans ascribe to the traditional influences such as belief in spirits and invoking spirits as a form of treatment (Franklin, 2011).
The traditional death rites that used to be performed on the dead body have significantly reduced due to Christianity’s faith. However, it is a common practice for funeral gatherings, eating together, and sometimes expressive dancing.
Collin, K., & Hughes, D. (2002). Diverse communities, common concerns: assessing health care quality for minority Americans. New York: Health Care Quality Survey.
Franklin, J. (2011). From slavery to freedom: a history of African Americans. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Welch, M. (2013). Care of Blacks and African Americans. Cross-Cultural Medicine 1 (1), 29-56.
Whitehead, T., & Peterson, J. (2008). The “hustle”: socioeconomic deprivation, urban drug trafficking and low-income African American male gender identity. Pediatrics, 93 (1), 1050-4.