Black History and Black Health are closely related:

Health Legacy of Cleveland would like to pause and recognize February as Black History Month and February as Heart Month.  Because of the ongoing struggle for Health Equity in United States, Black History and Black Health are closely related.   The Center for Disease Control acknowledges that African Americans ages 18-49 are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease than whites.[1] Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States of America.  During the height of the pandemic in 2020, there were significantly higher number of deaths from Heart Disease 696,962  vs. 350,831 Coronavirus related deaths.[2]

In addition to the overwhelming impact of Heart Disease, African Americans are generally at higher risk for stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza, pneumonia, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.[3] Also, John Hopkins documents that Blacks have more serious illness and death due to the Coronavirus.[4]

According to CDC below are listed some social determinants of health challenges for African Americans:[5]

  • Poverty
  • Unequal access to health care
  • Lack of education
  • Stigma
  • Racism

Other staggering health statistics for Blacks document that although African Americans are only 12.7% of U.S. population however, they make up 1/3 of dialysis treatments for kidney failure.[6]

According the American Medical Association, the following steps can be taken to improve Health Equity with Black health:

    1. Meet patients where they are
    2. Lead by example
    3. Make small changes.
    4. Training a workforce that resembles patient population
    5. Address social determinants of health
    6. Use technology
    7. Providing fair and equitable health care. [7]

One big area for improving Health Equity is creating healthy food environments. It is common knowledge that in many inner cities, there are food deserts or places that lack fresh fruits and vegetables (and other nutritional items to maintain good health). Also, there needs to be attention to increasing physical activity.  Many young children and adolescents spend too much time engaging their electronic devices with little concern for physically exerting themselves.

The Good News is that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury violence opportunities to achieve optimal health… .[8]

Health Legacy of Cleveland encourages you to:

Be more vigilant than ever about your overall health during this new phase of the pandemic.  Even though things are improving this is no time to fully let down your guard.  Continue to wash your hands frequently, watch social distancing and check CDC guidelines on when you should still wear a mask, isolate and quarantine.

Take up heart-healthy habits like staying active by increasing your daily steps (if medically possible).  Avoid overeating, which can be challenging for people that find themselves working from home during the recent abrupt policy changes by many companies that favor employees working from home.  It is also necessary to protect your health by the food choices you make. Eating foods with lower cholesterol and lower sodium are great for your weight loss and also factor into a healthy cardiovascular system.  Make sure you get cholesterol and blood pressure screenings on a regular basis. It is also important to understand what your screening test results mean in terms of preventing heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes and other serious conditions.


1.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Underlying Cause of Death, 1999–2018. CDC Wonder Online Database. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018. Accessed March 12, 2020.  

2.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-National Center for Health Statistics Mortality in the United States 2020, data table for figure

3. Health Disparities Among African-American-Pfizer

4. “Coronavirus in African Americans and Other People of Color.” Coronavirus in African Americans and Other People of Color | Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 20 Apr. 2020,

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Social determinants of Health

6. “African Americans and Kidney Disease.” National Kidney Foundation, 16 Feb. 2018,

7. American Medial Association– 7 ways to improve Black health—in mind and body › 7-ways-…July 20, 2020

8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Health Equity?-https//