APRIL is NATIONAL MINORITY HEALTH and HEALTH DISPARITIES MONTH
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or in opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and other population groups and communities. Health disparities exist in all age groups, including older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is aware that even though life expectancy and overall health have improved in recent years for most Americans, not all older adults are benefitting equally because of factors such as economic status, race and gender.
Did you know that in California:
• Roughly 75% of African Americans 50 years old and over are overweight or obese and fewer than 15% report exercising vigorously.
• Older African Americans are almost twice as likely to smoke cigarettes than other older adults.
• About 15% of African Americans 50 years old and over are food insecure (e.g., cannot afford to purchase sufficient food and eat balanced meals) and/or are living in poverty.
• More than 100,000 African Americans over the age of 50 have disabilities that limit their ability to live independently.
• The number of African Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease will double by 2030. African Americans are twice as likely as whites to get Alzheimer’s disease.
Advocates for African American Elders acknowledge that health disparities among African American elders is a serious problem. We are deeply committed to the elimination of health disparities and are incorporating these issues into our body of work by: 1) disseminating fact sheets, 2) holding town hall meetings and educational forums, 3) disseminating findings from our community survey of African American seniors to members of the community and decision makers at the city, county and state levels, 4) identifying and connecting seniors with culturally competent service providers and resources, and 5) developing programs to support seniors, including health literacy and advocacy programs.