St. James Parish Hospital shines light on Black Health & Wellness

Published 6:57 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

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This year’s Black History Month theme, “Black Health and Wellness,” shines a light on the importance of health equity. St. James Parish Hospital is committed to continuing to expand access for minorities through new services, locations, physicians and an ongoing focus on the many factors that contribute to wellness beyond healthcare.

Heart Disease & Stroke

1 in 3 deaths in the United States is due to cardiovascular disease. People of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities are affected. However, certain groups—including African Americans and older individuals, are at higher risk than others.

  • Nearly half of all African American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease that includes heart disease and stroke.
  • High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke in the United States. African American adults are much more likely to suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attacks and stroke deaths than white adults.


Among men, Black men get and die from cancer at higher rates than men of other races and ethnicities. Among women, white women have the highest rates of getting cancer, but Black women have the highest rates of dying from cancer.

  • Breast cancerdeaths are going down fastest among white women compared to women of other races and ethnicities. Black women have the highest death rates of all racial and ethnic groups, and are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. The reasons for this difference result from many factors, including having more aggressive cancers and fewer social and economic resources. To improve this disparity, black women need more timely follow-up and improved access to high-quality treatment.
  • Prostate canceris more common in black men. It tends to start at younger ages and grow faster than in men of other racial or ethnic groups, but medical experts do not know why.


Obesity, Nutrition & Physical Activity

Obesity is a problem in the African American community and is related to conditions like heart disease, stroke, and cancer. African Americans are nearly 1.5 times as likely to have obesity as compared to non-Hispanic whites.

  • From 2011-2014, the prevalence of obesity among African Americanswas 48% compared to 35% of non-Hispanic Whites.
  • African Americans eat fewer vegetables than other racial/ethnic groups but eat similar amounts of fruit as non-Hispanic Whites.
  • More than half (56%) of African American adults 18 years of age and older do not meet the aerobic component of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.

What You Can Do for Your Health

  • Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Choose foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • Exercise regularly. Adults needs two hours and 30 minutes (or 150 minutes total) of exercise each week.
  • Be smoke-free. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
  • Limit alcohol use, which can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and cancer. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
  • Know your family history. There may be factors that could increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Manage any medical condition you might have. Learn the ABCS of heart health. Keep them in mind every day and especially when you talk to your health provider: A ppropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it, B lood pressure control, C holesterol management, S moking cessation

For more information on the local health and wellness services offered at St. James Parish Hospital, visit