Observances ~ February
African American History Month
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African American History Month
To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on February 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.
This year's theme is, "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington",
as 2013 marks the
150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
and commemoration of the
50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
Despite great improvements in the overall health of the nation, health disparities remain widespread among members of racial and ethnic minority populations. Structural inequalities -- from disparities in education and health care to the vicious cycle of poverty -- still pose enormous hurdles for black communities across America. The health disparities between African Americans and other racial groups are striking and are apparent in life expectancy, death rates, infant mortality, and other measures of health status.
Every year, heart disease takes the lives of over half a million Americans, and it remains the leading cause of death in the United States.
African Americans have the largest age-adjusted death rates due to heart disease and stroke.
US Census Bureau, Facts for Features:
Black (African-American) History Month: February 2013
White House Presidential Proclamations:
National African American History Month, February 2013,
American Heart Month, February 2013
Americans suffer more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes each year. Every day, 2,200 people die from cardiovascular disease—that’s 815,000 Americans each year, or 1 in every 3 deaths.
We're all at risk for heart disease and stroke. People of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities are affected. However, certain groups —including African Americans and older individuals are at higher risk than others.
African American adults are much more likely to suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, and heart attack and stroke deaths than White adults. Individuals living below the federal poverty level are more likely to have high blood pressure compared with those living at the highest level of income.
Million Hearts™ initiative is a national public-private partnership that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017 by using clinical and community prevention to improve the ABCS:
- Aspirin as appropriate
- Blood pressure control
- Cholesterol management
- Smoking cessation
In 2013, CDC and other public and private partners will continue a strong focus on helping Americans get their blood pressure under control by:
Be One in a Million Hearts!
- increasing collaboration between clinical medicine and public health
- spreading clinicians’ best practices
- raising awareness of the importance of home blood pressure monitoring
- promoting new applications (apps) for assessing risk factors like high blood pressure
- releasing new Spanish-language materials
See how your actions can make a positive difference.
A Million Hearts begins with you!
* Status of CVD Health among Adult Americans in the 50 States and the District of Columbia, 2009
J Am Heart Assoc. December 19, 2012; 1:e005371.
Additional Million Hearts Links
Heart Disease and Stroke are leading causes of death in the United States. CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
Division for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention DHDSP, provides public health leadership to improve cardiovascular health for all, reduce the burden, and eliminate disparities associated with heart disease and stroke.
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Examples of Important Health Disparities
In 2009, the average American could expect to live 78.5 years, while the average African American could only expect to live 74.5 years, compared with 78.8 years for the average White American. Health, United States, 2011, Table 22.
CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report
The CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report - United States, 2011 (CHDIR), provides analysis and reporting of the recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities in selected social and health indicators, both of which are important steps in encouraging actions and facilitating accountability to reduce modifiable disparities by using interventions that are effective and scalable.
Examples of some important health disparities reported in the CHDIR:
For More Information, See the
- African American women and men 45-74 years of age in 2006 had the largest death rates from heart disease and stroke compared with same age women and men of other racial and ethnic populations.
- From 2005-2008, seniors aged 65 years and older, African American adults, US-born adults, and adults with less than a college education, public health insurance (ages less than and equal to 64 years), diabetes, obesity, or a disability had the largest prevalence of hypertension compared with their counterparts.
- Among many sex-age groups, the prevalence of obesity from 2005-2008 was lower among White Americans than among African Americans or Mexican Americans. Among females aged 20-39 years, the prevalence of obesity was the largest among African Americans.
- Infants of African American women in 2006 had death rates twice as large as infants of White American women.
- Adolescent and adult African Americans ages 15-59 years in 2007 had the largest death rates from homicide, as compared with other racial and ethnic populations of the same ages.
- HIV infection rate among African Americans in 2008 was the largest rate compared with rates among other racial and ethnic populations.
- Hispanic American and African American adults aged 18-64 years had substantially larger percentages of uninsured populations compared with Asian/Pacific Islander and White Americans.
- Colorectal screening in 2008 was among the lowest for African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives compared with White Americans.
- During the 2009–10 influenza season, lower influenza vaccination coverage was observed among African American and Hispanic American adults aged 18 years or older compared with white adults.
- In 2009, the prevalence of not completing high school among African American adults aged 18 years and older represented the second largest prevalence--second to the prevalence among Hispanic Americans and similar to the prevalence among American Indian/Alaska Native adults.
- In 2009, the percentage of African American adults living in poverty was among the largest compared with other racial/ethnic populations (similar to percentages among American Indian and Alaska Natives and Hispanic Americans).
- In 2009, African American adults who owned or rented housing more often lived in inadequate and unhealthy housing compared with white adult householders. The percentage of African American adult householders living in inadequate housing was similar to percentages among American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic adults. These populations had the largest percentages living in inadequate housing compared with other racial/ethnic populations.
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For More Information
US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Office of Minority Health (OMH)
Other Federal Government
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