African American Health: Creating Equal Opportunities for Health

The current MMWR is being updated concerning the described crossover effect where adjusted and age-specific data were not distinguished.

The death rate for African Americans dropped 25% from 1999-2015, but they are still more likely to die at a young age than white Americans.

  • African Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • African Americans ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure as whites.
  • African Americans ages 18 to 49 years are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease as whites.
  • Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites.

Public health agencies and community organizations should work across sectors, including education, business, transportation, and housing, to create social and economic conditions that promote health at early ages. Consumers can prevent disease and early death by eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, taking medication as prescribed, and getting screened for diseases.

The death rate for African Americans decreased 25% from 1999 to 2015.

The death rate for African Americans decreased 25% from 1999 to 2015.

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African Americans ages 35-64 years are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than whites.

African Americans ages 35-64 years are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than whites.

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African Americans ages 18-49 are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease than whites.

African Americans ages 18-49 are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease than whites.

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a middle aged couple

African Americans are living longer, with the death rate declining by 25 percent from 1999-2015.

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An african american man in a hospital bed, talking to his doctor

Younger African Americans are living with and dying of many conditions typically found in white Americans at older ages.

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A child selecting fruits in a grocery store

Communities, public health professionals, and others can help encourage healthier lifestyles for children and adults.

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infographic: African-Americans are more likely to die at early ages from all causes

African-Americans are more likely to die at early ages from all causes.

Infographic: The leading causes of death for African Americans have decreased from 1999-2015.

The leading causes of death for African Americans have decreased from 1999-2015.

Infographic: some social factors and health risks affect African Americans at younger ages

Some social factors and health risks affect African Americans at younger ages.

African-American man in hospital bed, speaking with his doctor

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closeup of an arm with blood-pressure cuff, and hands holding blood-pressure monitoring gauge

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middle aged african american couple

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Three young African American women

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a patient having her blood pressure checked

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Factsheet:
English pdf icon[PDF 2.0 MB]
Spanish pdf icon[PDF 1.6MB]

Spokespersons

Biography

Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA

“We have seen some remarkable improvements in death rates for the African American population; however, we still have a long way to go. Early health interventions can lead to longer, healthier lives. Diagnosing and treating these diseases in the early stages is an important step in saving lives.”

Leandris Liburd, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A. – Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Related Links

Podcast

  • Vital Signs – African American Health: Creating Equal Opportunities for Health – English | Spanish
  • Vital Signs – African American Health: Creating Equal Opportunities for Health – [PSA – 0:60 seconds]
Page last reviewed: May 2, 2017