The importance of Black men’s health issues has been understated for some time. With anti-Black racism increasingly becoming a direct cause for health concerns and tens of thousands of Black men dying during the pandemic, we need to emphasize finding solutions so Black men live healthier, happier lives. No more should they have to be easily susceptible to depression, increased blood pressure and other issues they face due to today’s climate.
Understanding the value of Black men’s health can help men better cope and open the eyes on the inconsistencies that prevent Black Men from improving their mental/physical fitness. It’s time to have a tough conversation.
What Are Men’s Health Issues?
Black men’s health issues are wide-ranging. They not only cover physical ailments and diseases that could potentially accelerate morbidity but also the mental health concerns that lead to depression and apathy. Those mental issues can be exacerbated when certain feelings of anger, frustration and disillusionment are suppressed because of the stereotypes that Black men are threatening, abrasive, and difficult to deal with.
The physical ailments are even more extensive. Black men are likelier to suffer extensive effects of a variety of serious physical issues, including:
Diabetes (More than twice as common in Black people compared to their white counterparts).
High blood pressure (Developed earlier in life for Black people than their white counterparts)
These physical or physiological issues aren’t helped by factors such as socioeconomic status, genetics and, of course, the inequality in healthcare treatment doled out to Black men. These men’s health issues need a bigger spotlight on them.
Why Is Men’s Health Important?
Men’s health is important because the life expectancy for men is considerably lower than that of women. There are several factors for this. One would assume that the lack of sufficient access to higher education is a factor. Improved education leads to better salaries, quality health insurance and healthier lifestyle habits. Life expectancy is higher for Black men who have at least a college degree, though such an increase is not as big as it is for white men. Even when Black men are highly educated, anti-black racism prevents them from converting that education into quality jobs or reaching top positions.
Regarding early detection and prevention, Black men’s health is far too often left on the backburner. While part of the reason it doesn’t get addressed can be attributed to some men putting off routine checkups or delaying doctor’s visits to address symptoms, a major part of it is the lack of affordable healthcare for Black men. Statistics show that many Black men are hampered by intergenerational poverty and will continue to struggle to afford healthcare and other basics because of the unequal system they’ve been raised in.
Distrust of certain medical outlets and health providers is prevalent among Black men, with stats pointing to Black people receiving a lack of sustainable treatment in hospitals. The distrust is just as prevalent regarding mental health as there are far from enough culturally responsive therapists to whom Black men can turn to talk about their issues. There’s long been a stigma in the Black community regarding mental health, and Black men are often unwilling to get mental health treatment because they don’t want to show vulnerability.
What Illnesses Are More Common in Men?
Black men are more likely to suffer from a variety of illnesses, including:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Men have more risk factors that make them prone to these diseases and others, including smoking, drinking, and high blood pressure.
How Can I Help My Man’s Health?
There are various superfoods for men that will help with weight loss and significantly improve nutrient intake. Nuts contain good fat (monounsaturated fatty acids) that lower the risk of getting diabetes and heart disease. High-protein snacks like almonds can accelerate the burning of calories and boost vitamin E levels.
Things like whole grains (specifically GMO organic grains that are unprocessed and free of refined sugars) aid men’s health as they favourably affect blood glucose levels and reduce belly fat. Avocados also contain healthy fats and fibre that boost insulin levels. Meanwhile, berries are rich in antioxidants, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage organs and make men more vulnerable to diseases.
Some foods men should avoid are bagels (70 grams of carbohydrates on average), french fries (which contain trans fats that can increase the risk of heart attack), margarine instead grass-fed butter, olive oil or coconut oil have proven to be the best healthy fats, and diet soda (which often contain aspartame a chemical additive that has negative side effects, above and beyond weight gain).
As a company, it is your responsibility to ensure all your employees have health coverage that works for them, and particularly that your Black employees have the medical support needed to optimize their health. Let’s uncover why that may not be the case with a Custom Convo.