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African Americans are affected disproportionately by the leading causes of death in the US, with more morbidity and mortality from premature births, cancer, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and diseases related to obesity, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.* African American men have higher rates of getting and dying from prostate cancer than other men.
The structure in African American families is often nuclear and extended with non-related “family” members.However, through health education and increased awareness of healthy eating practices, African Americans are replacing traditional pork products with turkey, fried foods with baked foods, and starchy vegetables with tomatoes and green vegetables.National programs to improve diet quality and the overall health of African Americans and other minority groups have been initiated.Okra is the principal ingredient in gumbo, a Creole stew, and is believed to have spiritual and healthful properties.Many of these foods found their way from the south to the north via the Mississippi River.In general, the older generation is more conservative, may have a more traditional view of gender roles, and may shun interracial dating and marriage.
Elders are respected and often provide care for their grandchildren.By 1996, 28 percent of this population was reported to have a poor-quality diet, compared to 16 percent of whites.A poor quality diet often can be attributed to greater access to packaged, processed, and fast foods; the common practice of using fats in cooking; and the high cost of fresh produce and lean meat.Body and Soul: A Celebration of Health Eating and Living for African Americans offers information targeted to African Americans on eating a health diet rich in fruits and vegetables.African Americans often have strong religious affiliations.And fast foot companies have specifically targeted African American communities as a growing market for their products.