Environment Has Role in Health of African American Boys

Environment Has Role in Health of African American Boys

The poor health of African American boys and young adult males is a result of their environments and physical surroundings, according to a new report from the California Endowment.

In other words, according to researchers, if African American boys grow up in a safe neighborhood with a good school, where they can walk and play outside, where they have a regular doctor and where they have access to good food, they are more likely to live a long and healthy life. However, if those factors are not present, then they are “far more likely to live a shorter life, to earn less money, to be party or victim of violence and to be far less healthy emotionally and physically,” says the report.

Just as environment is a key factor in determining quality of life, it can also be an effective resource for addressing the same systems that have largely failed young black males. A community-led approach could actually change the direction of the lives of African American men, concludes the report.

Key findings of the report:

— When it comes to health and other outcomes, the odds for boys and men of color are more than two times worse than they are for white boys and men in California.

— Boys and young men of color are at an increased risk of poor physical and emotional health outcomes as a result of where they live.

— If trauma is the problem, then healing and preventing trauma must be the underlying focus of any solution.

— Policies that support community-based solutions are needed to address the health issues faced by boys and young men of color.