From The Grio – We all know the statistics: African-Americans have higher rates of developing most chronic diseases. Despite sharing many of the same leading causes of death with other races, African-Americans still die from them more often.

As part of NBC Universal’s Be Well, Be Healthy week, theGrio is kicking off a weeklong series:Overcoming our 7 Biggest Health Threats.

Instead of solely spouting more statistics on the disparities, we aim to teach you about each disease and why that disease kills at such high rates. We take a look at the latest trends for each disease — particularly whether we’re winning or losing the fight — and highlight ways to become healthier despite the odds.


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We’ll round each topic off with a highlight on what real people are doing to fight these diseases on a day-to-day basis, one change at a time.

1. Lung Cancer
2. Stroke
3. Diabetes
4. HIV and AIDS
5. Breast Cancer
6. Prostate Cancer
7. Heart Disease

Just as there is no one “black community,” there is no cookie cutter fix. Our communities include a range of different ethnicities, cultures, educational levels and socioeconomic statuses. There are some commonalities with respect to genetics, but attacking these disparities requires a flexible approach, attempting to meet each individual community’s needs.

The overarching point of this series is that it’s not all bad. African-Americans across the country are proving that we can be healthier as individuals as well as through community efforts. It can be done.

Despite being affected more by these diseases, we’re not immune to the strides made among all Americans. Through education, more black women are getting mammograms than a decade ago. Black men still have more lung cancer than any other group, but the rates among both black and white men have dropped since tobacco control took effect. So, public health efforts are affecting us positively. We just need more. More funding. More education. More infiltration of these efforts into our communities.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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