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Before the advent of health ministries, African American churches had mission volunteers who attended services and administered to parishioners.African Americans are becoming increasingly health conscious, seeking health screenings and treatments, although health literacy in this population tends to vary by generation.
Although many African Americans eat foods such as greens, beans, and rice, which are rich in nutrients, economic issues and deep-rooted dietary habits create challenges for changing behaviors and lowering disease risk in this population.
Each person is an individual, as well as a community member.
The term African American generally refers to people descended from Africans who did not come to the US voluntarily—descendants of the four million slaves brought to the US between 16.
The following guides emphasize information that can be used to stimulate thinking about cultural differences and prompt questions that will help providers understand how their patients identify with and express their cultural backgrounds.
These are not fact lists to apply indiscriminately.
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.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.Many are affiliated with Christian denominations—notably Baptist and Church of God in Christ. Maintaining good health is associated with good religious practice.Many churches maintain a health ministry, through which congregations and parish nurses support good health with flu shots, blood pressure checks, and health education.The family may be matriarchal, although father or mother may take on the decision-making role.