Older African Americans may be suspicious of clinicians, believing their health is personal and up to God’s will.
Because they may be reluctant to share personal or family issues, building a trusting relationship is key.
Leafy greens may include spinach, collards, mustard, kale, and cabbage.
Institutionalization of elders has historically been avoided, with sons and daughters taking on the family caretaker role.
Many African Americans like hearty meals that may include meat, fish, greens, rice, grits, white and sweet potatoes, corn, turnips, eggplant, peanuts, and homemade desserts.
Many are affiliated with Christian denominations—notably Baptist and Church of God in Christ. Maintaining good health is associated with good religious practice.
Many churches maintain a health ministry, through which congregations and parish nurses support good health with flu shots, blood pressure checks, and health education.
Okra is the principal ingredient in gumbo, a Creole stew, and is believed to have spiritual and healthful properties.
Many of these foods found their way from the south to the north via the Mississippi River.
And fast foot companies have specifically targeted African American communities as a growing market for their products.
Although many African Americans eat foods such as greens, beans, and rice, which are rich in nutrients, economic issues and deep-rooted dietary habits create challenges for changing behaviors and lowering disease risk in this population.
Cajun and Creole cooking, which originated from the French and Spanish in Louisiana, was changed in character and composition by the influence of African cooks.
In 1965, African Americans were more than twice as likely as whites to eat a recommended diet of fruit, vegetables, fat, fiber, and calcium.
By 1996, 28 percent of this population was reported to have a poor-quality diet, compared to 16 percent of whites.