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An apt analogy to keep in mind is that learning about a specific model of car is helped by referencing the operator’s manual, but reading and even memorizing that manual doesn’t replace learning how to drive a car.The following cultural patterns may represent many African Americans, but do not represent all people in a community.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.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.However, through health education and increased awareness of healthy eating practices, African Americans are replacing traditional pork products with turkey, fried foods with baked foods, and starchy vegetables with tomatoes and green vegetables.National programs to improve diet quality and the overall health of African Americans and other minority groups have been initiated.

The term African American generally refers to people descended from Africans who did not come to the US voluntarily—descendants of the four million slaves brought to the US between 16.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.By 1996, 28 percent of this population was reported to have a poor-quality diet, compared to 16 percent of whites.A poor quality diet often can be attributed to greater access to packaged, processed, and fast foods; the common practice of using fats in cooking; and the high cost of fresh produce and lean meat.

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