NSG 4076 Week 4 Project Community Health Promotion Project

NSG 4076 Week 4 Project Community Health Promotion Project

African Americans are the second largest minority group in the U.S accounting for approximately 13.4% of the total population (Yearby, 2020). African Americans are burdened disproportionately by obesity among other related conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease leading to increased morbidity and mortality rates as compared to the whites. Several social determinants of health such as the wage gaps, unethical housing policies, and substandard education and healthcare have contributed to the health disparities experienced by African Americans (Colen et al., 2018). Consequently, African Americans have a history of mistrust in the medical and research community which serves as a barrier to seeing a primary care physician or taking part in health promotion research. As such, strategies aimed at engaging African Americans in health promotion programs need to take into consideration cultural appropriateness when developing and implementing appropriate health promotion initiatives. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the health disparities among African Americans and the possible health promotion activities appropriate for this population.

Social Determinants of Health

African Americans are faced with several challenges undermining their access to quality care services, hence the

NSG 4076 Week 4 Project Community Health Promotion Project

NSG 4076 Week 4 Project Community Health Promotion Project

increased morbidity and mortality rates. Such challenges are categorized in terms of socioeconomic status, and environmental hazards among other barriers to accessing healthcare services such as unaffordability of care services and lack of health insurance coverage. The majority of African Americans have a low socioeconomic status with an increased rate of unemployment, low education level, poverty, and poor housing among others. As of 2019, approximately 93.3% of African Americans earned at least a high school diploma, with 22.6% attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher (Colen et al., 2018). This number is quite less as compared to the white counterparts. The low education status among this population contributes towards the adoption of an unhealthy lifestyle promoting the risks for chroni

NSG 4076 Week 4 Project Community Health Promotion Project

NSG 4076 Week 4 Project Community Health Promotion Project

c conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that approximately 21.2% of black Americans as compared to 9% of whites were living at the poverty level in 2019 (Bassett & Galea, 2020). The level of unemployment among African Americans was also reported to be 7.7% as compared to the 3.7% among the whites. Such factors contribute to increased risk of environmental hazards such as unavailability of clean water, poor air quality, and poor environmental hygiene. Concerning the affordability of healthcare services, insurance coverage among the blacks in 2019 was 55.9% for private health insurance and 43.5% for Medicaid or public insurance. All these factors contribute towards the high prevalence of chronic diseases among black Americans, as a result of reduced access to healthcare services and adoption of an unhealthy lifestyle.

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Mortality and Morbidity Risk Factors

According to the 2019 Census Bureau projections, the life expectancy at birth for black Americans was reported to be approximately 77 years, with 74 years for men and 79.8 years for women (Yearby, 2020). Consequently, the death rate among this vulnerable population was generally high as a result of numerous health complications. Studies show that Black Americans suffer a great burden with a higher prevalence of diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and HIV/AIDS as the main contributing factors towards the high morbidity and mortality rates.

In 2018, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services(HHS), Office of Minority Health (OMH) reported that African Americans were twice as likely as whites to die from diabetes. Additionally, it was also reported that African Americans had a 60% chance of being diagnosed with diabetes (Bassett & Galea, 2020). The high prevalence of diabetes among this minority group is associated with several risk factors such as overweight and obesity, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, and hypertension.

The HHS reported that African Americans were 30% more likely to die from heart disease in 2018, as compared to whites (Yearby, 2020). Despite this vulnerable population having a 40% likelihood of being diagnosed with hypertension, they also face the greatest challenges of being unable to seek treatment as a result of the barriers explained above. This promotes complications such as stroke which is one of the leading causes of death among African Americans. Common risk factors promoting the prevalence of heart disease among blacks include overweight and obesity.

Additionally, the American Cancer Society, in 2019, reported that black Americans have the highest number of deaths and shortest rates of survival as compared to any other racial and ethnic group in the United States for most cancers (Bassett & Galea, 2020). The high death and morbidity as a result of cancer are mainly associated with several risk factors such as consumption of unhealthy foods, lack of physical exercise, and inability to access healthcare facilities to promote routine screening.

Lastly, according to the CDC, black American people also account for the highest portion of newly diagnosed cases of HIV as compared to other ethnicities and races. These disparities continue to grow among this minority group due to factors such as HIV stigma, racism, barriers to healthcare access, and poverty (Bassett & Galea, 2020). Appropriate health promotion programs must be put in place, concerning each of the four leading causes of death, to promote the health and wellbeing of black Americans.


Health Promotion Activities

            By working side by side with community partners responsible for delivering services to African Americans and healthcare providers who are members of the African American communities, several health promotion interventions can be developed based on the identified socioeconomic risk factors contributing to the health disparities in addition to the barriers to healthcare utilization. Such health promotion activities will be aimed at facilitating coordination of care services and implementation of evidence-based interventions to address health disparities such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDs reducing the morbidity and mortality rates among this population (Fletcher et al., 2018).

Health promotion interventions delivered in hair salons and barbershops for African Americans have displayed great effectiveness in reducing the risk factors and promoting the health outcome for overweight/obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Interventions addressing lifestyle modifications associated with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are required while balancing the appropriateness of the desired outcome (Carey et al., 2018). Such interventions include advocating for environments and policies supporting healthy lifestyles such as engaging in physical activity and healthy eating, increasing public awareness of the symptoms and treatment measures for these health disparities, promoting access to appropriate resources for people suffering from these conditions, and monitoring of their effects. Consequently, it is important to educate the community members regarding the dangers associated with smoking, and the appropriate measures that can be taken to promote smoking cessation to promote the health and well-being of African Americans.

Additional health promotion activities include coming up with cancer screening programs to promote early diagnosis and management of the most common types of cancer present among African Americans (Rock et al., 2020). Lastly, appropriate health promotion activities to reduce the burden associated with HIV/AIDs include empowering the community with adequate knowledge regarding HIV to avoid stigmatization, promoting safe sexual intercourse by championing the ABC program (abstain, be faithful, and use of condoms), and promoting the routine screening of the disease.


African Americans are faced with several health disparities associated with socioeconomic inequalities among other factors. Studies show that this minority group experiences increased morbidity and mortality rates as a result of common chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDs. These conditions are attributed to common risk factors like overweight/obesity, cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy foods, low education level, inability to access healthcare services, poverty, unemployment, and environmental hazards such as air pollution. As such, the development of appropriate health promotion activities among African Americans must focus on this risk factor to promote the health and well-being of this population.


Bassett, M. T., & Galea, S. (2020). Reparations as a public health priority—a strategy for ending black-white health disparities. New England Journal of Medicine383(22), 2101-2103. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2026170.

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. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.07.008

Colen, C. G., Ramey, D. M., Cooksey, E. C., & Williams, D. R. (2018). Racial disparities in health among nonpoor African Americans and Hispanics: The role of acute and chronic discrimination. Social Science & Medicine199, 167-180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.04.051

Fletcher, G. F., Landolfo, C., Niebauer, J., Ozemek, C., Arena, R., & Lavie, C. J. (2018). Promoting physical activity and exercise: JACC health promotion series. Journal of the American College of Cardiology72(14), 1622-1639. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.08.2141.

Rock, C. L., Thomson, C., Gansler, T., Gapstur, S. M., McCullough, M. L., Patel, A. V., … & Doyle, C. (2020). American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians70(4), 245-271. https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21591

Yearby, R. (2020). Structural racism and health disparities: Reconfiguring the social determinants of health framework to include the root cause. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics48(3), 518-526. DOI: 10.1177/1073110520958876