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Does Being a Person of Color Increase Your Health Risks?

The US has become more ethnically diverse in the last century, and in general our health and the quality of care we receive has improved. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case for some people of color. In fact, certain medical conditions and health behaviors—and the factors that can lead to them—are more common or severe among some people of color. Below are facts about 5 such conditions and behaviors, followed by steps you can take to help prevent them.

Diabetes. Among adults in the US, diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure, certain kinds of lower limb amputation, and new cases of blindness. It is also a major cause of heart disease.

Heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US.

Obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for a number of serious disease and health conditions including heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. While the rate of obesity is high among all population groups in the US, there are differences among people of color.

Cancer. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US. Only heart disease kills more people.

Smoking. Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the US.

Steps to take to improve your health

There are things you can do to protect or improve your health. For example, you can:

[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

References

  • 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Conversations in Equity. Accessed January 23, 2018.
  • 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report—United States, 2013. Accessed January 23, 2018.
  • 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). Accessed January 23, 2018.
  • 4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hispanic Health. Accessed January 23, 2018.
  • 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Facts. Accessed January 23, 2018.
  • 6. American Cancer Society. Economic Impact of Cancer. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  • 7. National Cancer Institute. Cancer Health Disparities. Accessed January 16, 2018.
  • 8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Burden of Tobacco Use in the U.S. Accessed January 24, 2018.
  • 9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African Americans and Tobacco Use. Accessed January 23, 2018.
  • 10. National Institutes of Health. Talking to Your Doctor. Accessed January 24, 2018.
  • 11. World Health Organization. The Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Accessed January 24, 2018.
  • 12. National Institutes of Health. Why is it important to know my family medical history? Accessed January 24, 2018.