It is no secret that racial heath disparities, much like racial wealth disparities, are a real thing in America. Compared to White Americans, Black Americans fare far worst in most measures of health starting from infancy.
The Associated Press spent a year looking into the biggest racial health disparities in America. Here is what they found.
1. Black Mothers and Babies are More Likely to Die
As we have reported before, Black women die at a far greater rate (some studies have found at an alarming 5x rate) during pregnancy and postpartum. Black babies don’t fare much better, making them more likely to die and far more likely to be born prematurely. According to the CDC, both underlying health conditions and structural racism are to blame for this disparity. Since the wellbeing of the mother directly affects the wellbeing of the baby, when the mother is not taken care of, it has a direct consequence on the infant as well.
2. Black Kids are More Likely to have Asthma
Around 4 million kids in the U.S. have asthma. More than 12% of Black kids have asthma in the nation compared to 5% of White kids. And Black kids’ asthma is more severe and less likely to be controlled. Aside from genetics, where you live makes a huge difference on susceptibility to asthma. Black American are more likely to live in homes with asthma triggers like mold and dust mites and areas with worst air pollution.
About 4 in 10 Black children live in neighborhoods with poor environmental conditions compared to 1 in 10 White children.
3. Black Teen Mental Health is Far Worst
Black teens are far less likely to find mental health care even though about 50% of them report to have experience moderate to severe symptoms of depression. Even more shocking, Black teens report experiencing an average of 5 instances of racial discrimination per day. That’s per day! Because Black Americans have a historical distrust of the medical system, Black youth are also less likely to even seek out mental health care.
Black adolescents had a nearly 80% increase in prevalence of suicide attempts, the highest increase among any other group.
4. Black Adults Suffer from High Blood Pressure at a Higher Rate
About 56% of Black adults have high blood pressure, compared to 48% of White adults. Alarmingly, 3 in 4 Black people are likely to develop the disorder by age 55. Genetics, poor diets, obesity, and smoking are all risk factors for the disease. All these risk factors are more prevalent among African Americans.
Structural inequalities also contribute to the rate of high blood pressure amongst the Black community. Food desserts are a much bigger issue in Black communities, leaving many to depend on unhealthy food options.
5. Black Americans are More Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s Disease
According to the CDC, about 14% of Black Americans over 65 develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to 10% of White Americans. Some known risks for Alzheimer’s include diabetes and cardiovascular disease, two disease that are more common in the Black community.
Other risk factors also include higher rates of poverty and greater exposure to adversity throughout one’s life.
Watch our short documentary on this issue below.
Read the full AP report here.
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