Top 5 Minority Health Concerns

Many health conditions affect minorities at higher rates than other groups. Early detection can help reduce these percentages and decrease illnesses. Routine doctor visits, eating healthy and staying active are good ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Learn more about the conditions that have a disproportionate effect on minorities.

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for minorities. This is related to higher obesity rates among minorities, and also lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
• Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) rates are 33% higher for African-Americans than the overall population in the U.S.
• American Indians/Alaska Natives die from heart disease much earlier than expected—36% are under the age of 65
• Non-Hispanic black women and Mexican-American women have a higher rate of obesity, a risk factor for CVD and diabetes, than non-Hispanic white women
• Black adults are far more likely than white adults to be admitted to the hospital for angina and congestive heart failure.

• The cancer death rate among African-American men is 27% higher compared to non-Hispanic white men.
• The death rate for African-American women is 11% higher compared to non-Hispanic white women.
• African-Americans have the highest incidence rates of colorectal cancer of any racial or ethnic group.
• Hispanics have higher rates of cervical, liver and stomach cancers than non-Hispanic whites.
• Liver cancer incidence and death rates among Asian/Pacific Islanders are double those of non-Hispanic whites.

• Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women
• Overall, breast cancer incidence (rate of new cases) is slightly lower among African-American women than among white women. However, breast cancer mortality is higher in African-American women.

• African-Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial group within the American population.
• African-Americans have nearly twice the risk for a first-ever stroke than white people, and a much higher death rate from stroke.
• African-Americans are more likely to suffer a stroke at a younger age. Among people ages 45 to 64, African-Americans are two to three times more likely to have a stroke compared to Caucasians.
• African-American stroke survivors are more likely to become disabled and have difficulty with activities of daily living than white stroke survivors.
• Stroke prevalence is projected to increase the most among Hispanic men between now and 2030.
• Lack of English proficiency is strongly associated with lack of stroke knowledge among Hispanics.
• Hispanics are less likely than whites or blacks to know stroke warning signs.
• Diabetes increases stroke risk at all ages. African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos and other ethnic minorities bear a disproportionate burden of diabetes in the U.S.

Do you know the warning signs? Click Here to learn more.

Minorities have a higher prevalence of diabetes than whites, and some minorities have higher rates of diabetes-related complications and death. Identifying disparities is a first step toward understanding what causes them and what can be done to reduce them.


• 10.8 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, 10.6 percent of Mexican Americans, and 9.0 percent of American Indians have diabetes, compared with 6.2 percent of whites.
• All minorities, except Alaska Natives, have a prevalence of type 2 diabetes that is two to six times greater than that of the white population.
• Different studies found that African-Americans are from 1.4 to 2.2 times more likely to have diabetes than white persons.
• Hispanic Americans have a higher prevalence of diabetes than non-Hispanic people, with the highest rates for type 2 diabetes among Puerto Ricans and Hispanic people living in the Southwest and the lowest rate among Cubans.
• The prevalence of diabetes among American Indians is 2.8 times the overall rate.
• Major groups within the Asian and Pacific Islander communities (Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, and Korean Americans) all had higher prevalences than those of white

Unintentional injury risks include lack of seatbelt use, lack of motorcycle helmet use, unsafe consumer products, drug and alcohol use (including prescription drug misuse), exposure to occupational hazards, and unsafe home and community environments.


• Minority children are less likely to wear a car seatbelt, putting them at greater risk of severe injury
• 45% of black children and 46% of Hispanic children killed in crashes were not buckled up, compared with 26% of white children.
• Among 4- to 7-year-olds, twice as many non-white children sat in the front seat as white children.
• The rate of illegal drug use among African-Americans ages 12 and up is 12.4%, compared to the national average of 10.2%.
• Hispanics are more likely than whites to experience work-related illness, injury or assault.

Mental Illness

Mental Illness is another major health concern that often times goes untreated in the African American community. Although anyone can develop a mental health problem, African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet needs and other barriers. African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.

For more information on mental illness visit NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Common mental health disorders among African Americans include:

  1. Major depression
  2. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  3. Suicide, among young African American men
  4. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because African Americans are more likely to be victims of violent crime