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The Impact Of Poverty On The Health Of African American Children

2339 words - 9 pages

Introduction: This paper focuses on how the poverty level of African Americans in the United States affects the health of their children. Research indicates a correlation between low socioeconomic levels and substandard health of children. Poverty affects living conditions, access to healthy foods and health-care, and increases the risk for illnesses and diseases. Studies have indicated that African Americans have the highest poverty percentage when compared to other race/ethnic backgrounds. Children who live in poverty tend to have lower birth weights, increased chances of HIV, asthma, obesity, diabetes, malnutrition, poor dental care, ear infections, and high levels of lead in their blood. Although society has realized that poverty negatively affects African American children, few actions to change the issue have taken place. The new ObamaCare health care bill enacted by President Barack Obama in 2010 was enforced in March 2014. This may cause a positive change in the health care of African American children but may not create a positive change in the poverty levels of African Americans.
Main Body of the Paper:
In 2003, the human genome project proved that all humans are 99.9% genetically alike (Smedley & Smedley, 2011). Despite new statements that race is no longer biological and instead socially based, there is still differential treatments of different race/ethnic groups and degradation of minorities in respect to education, finance, occupation, and humanity. Poverty is a factor affecting the well being of a large population in the United States and can be one of the greatest methods to foresee death and health. Poor communities are more likely to have a shorter life and become sicker more often (Hill, 2009). Due to racial disparities among race/ethnic groups, certain groups tend to face greater hardships. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, African Americans have the highest poverty percentage (35%) in 2012 compared to only 13 percent of whites. As a result, African American children living in poverty have poor health.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2013), poverty affects children at higher rates than adults. In 2012, 16.1 million children under the age of 18 lived in poverty. This constitutes 21.8 percent of children in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). More children under the age of 18 are at risk for poverty than adults because children are dependent on parents and cannot work. The negative effects from poverty include low birth weight, infant death, asthma, lower respiratory infections, high blood lead levels, middle ear infections, obesity, malnourishment, vitamin deficiency, and poor dental care (Aber, Bennett, Conley, & Li, 1997). Incidences such as low birth weight and infant mortality also occur at higher rates among African American women with less than a high school education (Smedley & Smedley, 2011). In 1994, there were 15.8 infant deaths per 1000 babies born which was a rate much higher...

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