Sick and Tired: Why We Need To Focus On Our Health

Health Screening/Brian Slack/Flickr/CC-2.0


While African Americans are more likely to experience many cardiovascular diseases, in particular strokes and heart failure, they are also more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases.” - Dr. Mercedes R. Carnethon

Unfortunately, health has always been a topic of concern in our community--from the food we eat to the quality of affordable healthcare. Today, we still see disparities in Black healthcare.

This is not a new conversation. In 1914, Booker T. Washington presented data regarding declining health in African American communities; particularly in the rural south. He noted how cost and lack of information affected our ability to properly diagnose and monitor our health.

This prompted the government to institute National Negro Health Week (NNHW). People observed NNHW was for the next 35 years, and many positives came as a result: it set the stage for the formation of the National Negro Health Movement and encouraged Black women to enter the healthcare profession, primarily as nurses.

NNHW also brought about detailed reporting and analysis of Black health. For instance, the movement was instrumental in detecting how perverse tuberculosis was within our communities.

Perhaps we should reinstate a week like NNHW to shine a light on the factors impeding our health. While we know there are basic steps that everyone must take to ensure a healthy lifestyle, such as clean eating, hydration, regular doctor visits, and exercise, we still need answers.

Knowing why our community is so heavily impacted by certain ailments and diseases will help us make strides in the right direction. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, pick up a copy of Inequality and African-American Health: How Racial Disparities Create Sickness.

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