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Health disparities still plaguing the Black community

Miami Times Editorial Department | 12/5/2013, 9 a.m.

According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], among the 10 leading causes of death for Blacks, the top four — heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes — are all preventable. But that would require Blacks to have access to health care and to have the ability to fundamentally change their diet. Tell that to a family that can barely pay rent much less make more reasonable choices for what they eat — if and when they do eat — and it’s clear that significant portions of the Black community are in trouble.

That’s why the Liberty City-based non-profit AIDS service organization Empower “U,” Inc., is to be congratulated for their recent coup — securing a $700K federal grant that will allow them to expand their health care services to a community that is in dire need. Now they’re known as the local AIDS agency, but they’ll soon be known for a whole lot more

Incidentally, the CDC also says that Blacks have a substantial or disproportionately larger prevalence of high cholesterol, maternal and infant health problems, teen pregnancy, obesity and poor nutrition over their life span as compared with other racial/ethnic populations. Again, with the roll out of services that Empower “U” has announced, we expect to see real change come in terms of health care offerings as early as January 2014 — services that will address the health issues listed above. In other words, there will be no reason for Blacks in Liberty City and its surrounding environs to continue to live shorter lives and to continue to suffer as a result of preventable illnesses.

Say what you will about the Affordable Care Act — often referred to as ObamaCare — health care has become a national priority and is something we all deserve. U.S. officials have long played around with making health care more affordable for all of its citizens but as the saying goes, “It is easy to question the motives of a hungry man when your belly is full.” Said another way, those who have the luxury of eating healthy meals of their choice each and every day and who have top notch health insurance don’t have to concern themselves with such mundane issues.

But for millions of others, such issues are often life threatening.

Perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel.