The African American community has a high population in Mecklenburg County. Out of the total population of about 920,000 people as per the 2010 census, about 30% are African Americans. It has the highest number of people in North Carolina. Between year 2000 and 2010, the percentage change in population has changed from 27% of the population to about 30%. This was a percentage increase in the population by just over 44%. Most of the African Americans have schooled to a level of high school and diplomas, while few of them at 23.5% have attained a bachelors degree or higher. Further, they have a median household income of $ 36,413, according to the American Community survey in 2010. With the unemployment rate increasing from 3% to just over 10% between 2000 and year 2010, more African Americans have been affected, accounting for 19.7% of the total number of unemployed people. This can be attributed to the fact that most of the people who are unemployed are those who have just attained the education level of college and high school, and most of the African Americans fall under this category. As the poverty level in the US has increased from 13% to 15% between year 2000 and 2010, the same has reflected in the county. It has however continually scored lower that North Carolina State, and has always been slightly lower than the national average. In terms of health, the African Americans have been affected by the disparities in the healthcare coverage. About 26% of the people aged between 18 and 64 of this race do not have a healthcare cover.
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African American population is an important race that can be used to determine the status of a certain occurrence in any American State or County (Langenfeld, Mast & Rasberry, 2010). This is because they comprise of a highly significant percentage of the total population. At the same time, they tend to have a common ancestry, thus are often affected by similar issues and conditions such as weather and climate. They also seem to possess characters that would make them immune to certain conditions such as diseases, while their genetic composition may lead to a higher susceptibility to a condition that other people may be immune to. In any state or county government, there is need to control disease. The governance needs to determine what diseases often affect this race more than the other, so that preventive or control measures are put in place in the areas where the African Americans are concentrated. This is a very important step that any governance should consider in order to reduce the prevalence of certain diseases or conditions.
The Black Americans have been the worst affected race by asthma in North Carolina. In a study carried out in 2007, this race was leading in both child and adult asthma diagnosis, hospitalization and, as expected, death. Black children accounted for about 15% of the total number of asthma children patients in North Carolina, followed by a distant 6.7% among the whites. Asthma deaths constituted of 28.6% of blacks in North Carolina. Adults were however better off, accounting for 7.9% of the total prevalence of the condition (Langenfeld, Mast & Rasberry, 2010).
With these figures from the North Carolina State, it is evident that there is an issue with the African Americans children susceptibility to asthma, than any other race. It is therefore important for us to carry out a study to determine why the children are more affected than the adults as well as children from other races. We will also examine the epidemiology of the condition and what measures should be taken to reduce the prevalence among these children. The study was carried out among North West Charlotte community where the median age is 35.2 years, population is 41456 with 48.01% being male and 51.99% being female. The area is historically known to be an African American region, especially in the area around Johnson Smith University.
Phase 1: Social Assessment
Quality of life of the African American children
During the study, it was determined that the general quality of life among the African American children was not very welcoming. The housing conditions in North West Charlotte were poor and the quality of food that they were eating was not very nutritional. Interviews with their parents indicated that they did not bother much in advising their children on healthcare because they were busy at work and they were not very learned to explain to their children about the diseases. Most of them worked in informal sectors and only a few had university degrees. It was however noted that a good number of these people had not been living in their current homes for a long time. Generally, the quality of life among the people in the community was well below the national average, including healthcare, income, education, entertainment, food among others. This made the lives of thee people not very appreciable in a close comparison with the rest of the national figures. However, most of the working people are in white collar jobs.
With the prevalence of the disease being highly concentrated among the black Americans, there is a possibility that this race will even get poorer because despite being the lowest earners, the race will be required to spend most of their earnings to manage the diseases in their children (Langenfeld, Mast & Rasberry, 2010). Further, they will be required to keep off some of the employment opportunities that could affect their health in polluting industries. They will also require special attention on their learning conditions and since they cannot afford special conditions, due to their low income, very few of them will go to school. The race will eventually struggle to survive and unless very stringent measures are taken, they will slump into deeper health issues related to poverty and inadequate health insurance cover. There was a little involvement of healthcare, with less than the national average of the people in North West Charlotte having healthcare cover.
There has been considerable involvement by the North West Charlotte community and other stakeholders, especially in schools where the young asthmatic children go for their basic education. Teachers and other organizations have volunteered to offer information regarding asthma to pupils and their parents through different forums. They have posted a lot of valuable information on websites and they have managed to teach the children from basic ages of the signs and symptoms of asthma, as well as the ways to treat the asthmatic children. This has been successful in the county and community in North West Charlotte, and there has been a lot of sensitization which has been made accessible to all students irrespective of their financial ability of their parents. The community has also created better environment for asthmatic children, as they have abolished smoking in public areas such as in buses. The schools have further directed their drivers to switch off their busses if they are waiting for children for more than 5 minutes. These are commendable steps by the community to ensure that those who are already affected get healthy air.
Examples of social indicators of the community over lifestyle
Walking around the community, there was a general feeling of calm and security because there were many police vehicles that kept constant watch in all areas (Langenfeld, Mast & Rasberry, 2010). The residents were comfortable with the crime rate, since they considered it reducing every day. However, the crime rate was above the national average, despite having considerably reduced. It was also noted that most buses would stop and the driver put off the engine as the young scholars boarded. There were many sites that stakeholders refer researchers to, where they post most of the information regarding most issues in the county. Asthma has been taken as a menace and serious measures that include information dissemination have been put in place. It was also noted that there were few pets as people moved along the streets. Most Africans especially noted that there was no need keeping pets that could result into a chronic disease like asthma. The study determined that there were only a few people who covered their families with healthcare insurance. They either did not have the money to invest in the scheme or were just not interested.
Phase 2 - Epidemiological Assessment
The quality of life for people is determined by the peoples’ income and knowledgeability on issues affecting them. The children within the age of 1 and 14 years are highly affected by the financial abilities of their parents. African Americans have a high percentage of unemployed people as well as lower education levels (Langenfeld, Mast & Rasberry, 2010). This has a direct correlation with the quality of life that these people would lead because there is less money to spend. The housing is below standards and the parents are not covered by the healthcare insurers. This translates to poor health of the parents and an eventual poor health for the children. The maternal health and housing is poor thus there is an expected high rate of asthma reports. The 2% increase in poverty level and reduction in employment due to reduction of industries in North West Charlotte has been a very important factor that has contributed towards poor health and higher prevalence of asthma towards African American children.
With the high rate of death among the asthmatic African American children, there is a concern on the future population of the race. There have been about 65,000 immigrants into the county between 2009 and 2010, of which a quarter are African Americans. This is a course to worry about because the mortality rate of asthma Black American patients stands at a 28% (Schlueter, Rasberry & Buckley, 2011).
African Americans are the race that has the least earners in Mecklenburg County and the whole of North Carolina. With a household income of $36,413, they are very far behind the leaders, White, non-Hispanic Americans at $66,460. Coincidentally, these people at $66,460 have the least number of asthma cases among their children. It is therefore sensible to say that there is a correlation between the White non Hispanic people have 6% of their children being asthmatic (Bonaiuto, 2007). Mecklenburg at large has been commendable in reducing the rate of crime. This can mean that the people living there have a steady income, better lives and ran away from crime. However, data shows that there has been an increase in population, reduction in investment and eventual increase in poverty level. This contradicts with the reduced rate of crime. It can only mean that the security structure is very efficient and the criminals stand little chance. It was also determined that there was a lower level of education among the African Americans. This can be attributed to the poor living conditions that discourage them from extending their studies to further heights. This would eventually lead to a culture that places little emphasis on education by the young children, leaving them ignorant on the issues that affect them directly. Eventually, they expose themselves to conditions that could make them asthmatic, without their knowledge (Schlueter, Rasberry & Buckley, 2011).
There is a likelihood that there is a high correlation between asthma and the pedigree of African Americans. It has been observed that there is a high risk, as high as 20% that someone will get asthma if their parents were asthmatic or a person within their lineage was asthmatic. It is therefore advised that when one realizes that their families have a history of asthma, they take extra caution especially in their living conditions and their exposure to pollution or other conditions that can cause asthma (Bonaiuto, 2007). They have a high risk of getting the disease.
Behavioral (patterns of behavior that protect or put at risk).
The behavior of a person can determine whether they become asthmatic or not. Daily exposure to dust, environmental pollutants and eating habits can easily cause asthma. Overweight and obese people have a high risk of contracting the disease, thus their eating behavior should be very well predetermined (Schlueter, Rasberry & Buckley, 2011). At the same time, tobacco smoking has been put on the red light for causing respiratory infections and asthma. When people smoke, they increase their susceptibility to get asthma as the smoke weakens the respiratory tract, exposing it to asthma. Smoking mothers are also said to expose their unborn babies to asthma, while exposing the young-born babies to secondary smoking increases their chances of getting asthmatic.
Environmental external factors that can be changed to impact health
The community in Mecklenburg and North West Charlotte has done well to ensure that the young children are not fully exposed to asthma (Langenfeld, Bonaiuto & Edmonds, 2006). However, there is more that can be done to the environment. First, people who work in factories should ensure that they wear highly protective clothing that would give them maximum protection. At the same time, they should undergo extensive tests to ensure that their genetic composition is strong enough to withstand the emissions. Secondly, the communities should ensure that there are, as few emitting factories in the residential areas as possible, and those that already exist should provide a detailed explanation on how they would control their emissions to ensure they do not affect the population living around them (Langenfeld, Bonaiuto & Edmonds, 2006). Thirdly, the community could come up with a county law that prohibits the use of old vehicles in order to reduce their emissions.
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