Washington Post Examines Health Disparities Among Black Men
The Washington Post on Friday as part of a series titled "Being a Black Man" examined how black men have lower life expectancies and higher mortality rates from a number of diseases than white men and profiled Damu Smith, a black man who died of colorectal cancer "before his time."
According to the Post, black men have an average life expectancy of 69, six years less than white men and "far shorter than men of other ethnic groups." In addition, black men are more than twice as likely to die from cancer and nine times as likely to die from AIDS than white men.
Black men also experience lung disease, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, diabetes and other chronic illnesses in "disproportionate numbers that alarm health care professionals," the Post reports.
Khan Nedd, founder of the Grand Rapids African Americans Health Institute in Michigan, said, "From cradle to grave, African Americans have the worst statistics in almost every area of health."
Experts in part attribute the disparities to the fact that black men often do not seek necessary medical care. Health care professionals, psychologists and economists "all proffer reasons why black men shun doctors," such as a lack of heath insurance, concerns about stigma, the insensitivity of physicians, racism, ignorance, irresponsibility and a lack of trust in a "medical system born of injustices," the Post reports (Fears, Washington Post, 10/6).