NATIONAL NEWS

From birth to death, legacy of racism lays foundation for Black Americans’ health disparities

May 22, 2023, 9:45 PM

Catherine Manson sits on the front porch of her aunt's home as her children, Caydence Manson, cente...

Catherine Manson sits on the front porch of her aunt's home as her children, Caydence Manson, center, and Carter Manson, play close by in Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. About 4 million children in the United States, including Caydence and Carter, currently have asthma. But stark disparities exist: More than 12% of Black children nationwide suffer from the disease, compared with 5% of white children. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

From birth to death, Black Americans fare worse in measures of health compared to their white counterparts. They have higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, higher incidence of asthma during childhood, more difficulty treating mental health as teens, and greater rates of high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses.

The Associated Press spent the past year exploring how the legacy of racism in America has laid the foundation for the health inequities that Black people face.

Here’s a breakdown of each story of a five-part series:

Birth: Why do so many Black women die in pregnancy? One reason: Doctors don’t take them seriously.

Childhood: Black children are more likely to have asthma. A lot comes down to where they live.

Teen years: Black kids face racism before they even start school. It’s driving a major mental health crisis.

Adulthood: High blood pressure plagues many Black Americans. Combined with COVID, it’s catastrophic.

Elders: A lifetime of racism makes Alzheimer’s more prevalent in Black Americans.

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From birth to death, legacy of racism lays foundation for Black Americans’ health disparities