Growing Up Black in America – Health Challenges

Black Americans have struggled to have good health. Their very lifestyle includes practicing habits that are not conducive to having good health. It is this lifestyle that is causing so many to succumb to disease and ill – health. Seeing as how many have been bought up it is no wonder good health is not a priority.

I spent part of my childhood with my relatives. Most were overweight, loved to eat and exercised little. I did not find it strange because it seems like a part of the culture. And since so many of them could cook it was hard to not eat and enjoy the taste. In other cultures there is more of an emphasis on eating healthy foods (like very little red meat, lots of fish and vegetables). This is not common among black families.

There are many reasons black Americans have traditionally been exposed to bad health habits. Many times their parents and grandparents were subject to poor eating habits. This caused certain health conditions to become more apparent.

1) Some blacks grew up in the south where food normally consumed are filled with salt, fat and items that tend to lead to higher blood pressure. The food is highly seasoned and very tasty.

2) Obesity was the norm with irregular exercise habits. Eating was common, developing an exercise program was not. It is impossible to eat as so many do with no exercise and have good health.

3) Poor exercise habits – some estimate that 3% of black Americans belong to a health club. This helps account for why it is so common to blacks to be out of shape. This does not mean everyone is for there are some who definitely take personal health to heart. But overall it would be better to have more people exercise to work for better health.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention blacks have:

A) 13.8% who live in fair or poor health

B) % of men over 20 who are obese- 37.5%, women – 56.1%

C) % of men over 20 with hypertension -40.5%, women – 44%

D) % of black people under 65 with no health insurance – 12.1%

E) Leading causes of death – heart disease, cancer and unintentional accidents

Health is a big thing because being in bad health makes living a great life very difficult. Black Americans must learn from other cultures how to nurture a healthy lifestyle so it can be passed on to the next generation.