Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Arlene Taich

Second Advisor

Marilyn Patterson

Third Advisor

Tom Dehner


Health promotion and disease prevention has made a major impact in the United States in the past 20 years. However in terms of disease and risk behavior minority groups in this country are not uniformly disadvantaged. African - Americans had age - adjusted mortality rates well above the rates of white Americans, whereas Hispanic Americans have rates that are comparable to white Americans. Asians and Pacific Islanders and American Indians and Alaska Natives have mortality rates lower than white Americans.

The challenge for chronic disease prevention among minority groups is to get the attention of church and other community leaders who are currently focusing more on problems of violence, drug use, and HlV/AIDS.It is true that those problems or concerns are urgent problems in the minority communities. Chronic diseases, however, remain the leading causes of death among the minority groups.

African - American elderly population health problems may well be traced to poverty and undereducation. The most effective intervention against chronic disease in the long run for elderly African - Americans is to address these disparities.

African - Americans must take an active role to improve their health status and close the gap between themselves, other minority groups and white Americans.

African - Americans need to become aware of their own health needs, be willing to change behavioral practices and life styles. Empower themselves economically, become more active in the political arena. The African - American community must set its goal of well being, physically, socially, and mentally.