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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.
The following guides emphasize information that can be used to stimulate thinking about cultural differences and prompt questions that will help providers understand how their patients identify with and express their cultural backgrounds.
These are not fact lists to apply indiscriminately.
In general, the older generation is more conservative, may have a more traditional view of gender roles, and may shun interracial dating and marriage.
Elders are respected and often provide care for their grandchildren.
Dishes such as hoppin’ John (rice, black-eyed peas, and salt pork), gumbos, jambalyas, fried porgies, and potlikker may all be considered soul food.
However, through health education and increased awareness of healthy eating practices, African Americans are replacing traditional pork products with turkey, fried foods with baked foods, and starchy vegetables with tomatoes and green vegetables.
National programs to improve diet quality and the overall health of African Americans and other minority groups have been initiated.
Older African Americans may be suspicious of clinicians, believing their health is personal and up to God’s will.
Because they may be reluctant to share personal or family issues, building a trusting relationship is key.