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By 1996, 28 percent of this population was reported to have a poor-quality diet, compared to 16 percent of whites.A poor quality diet often can be attributed to greater access to packaged, processed, and fast foods; the common practice of using fats in cooking; and the high cost of fresh produce and lean meat.African Americans are affected disproportionately by the leading causes of death in the US, with more morbidity and mortality from premature births, cancer, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and diseases related to obesity, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.* African American men have higher rates of getting and dying from prostate cancer than other men.
Dishes such as hoppin’ John (rice, black-eyed peas, and salt pork), gumbos, jambalyas, fried porgies, and potlikker may all be considered soul food.Before the advent of health ministries, African American churches had mission volunteers who attended services and administered to parishioners.African Americans are becoming increasingly health conscious, seeking health screenings and treatments, although health literacy in this population tends to vary by generation.The family may be matriarchal, although father or mother may take on the decision-making role.
For African Americans, women more than men tend to remain unmarried, and more women have been educated at the college level.And fast foot companies have specifically targeted African American communities as a growing market for their products.Although many African Americans eat foods such as greens, beans, and rice, which are rich in nutrients, economic issues and deep-rooted dietary habits create challenges for changing behaviors and lowering disease risk in this population.An apt analogy to keep in mind is that learning about a specific model of car is helped by referencing the operator’s manual, but reading and even memorizing that manual doesn’t replace learning how to drive a car.