Looking Forward to a Healthier Tomorrow

African-American food and its dietary evolvement since the beginning of American slavery provide a complicated, yet extremely descriptive, picture of the effects of politics, society, and the economy on culture. The deep-rooted dietary habits and economic issues that continue to affect African Americans present great challenges regarding changing behaviors and lowering disease risk. In January 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched Healthy People 2010, a comprehensive, nationwide health promotion and disease prevention agenda. The overarching goal of this program is to increase quality and years of healthy life and eliminate health disparities between whites and minority populations, specifically African Americans. As national health initiatives and programs continue to improve and target African Americans and other populations in need, preventable diseases will be lowered, creating a healthier U.S. society. see also Africans, Diets of; Caribbean Islanders, Diet of; Dietary Trends, American.

M. Cristina F. Garces Lisa A. Sutherland


Basiotis, P. P.; Lino, M; and Anand, R. S. (1999). "Report Card on the Diet Quality of African Americans." Family Economics and Nutrition Review 11:61-63.

de Wet, J. M. J. (2000). "Sorghum." In The Cambridge World History of Food, Vol. 1, ed. Kenneth F. Fiple and Kriemhil Conee Ornelas. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dirks, R. T., and Duran, N. (2000). "African American Dietary Patterns at the Beginning of the 20th Century." Journal of Nutrition 131(7):1881-1889.

Foner, Eric, and Garraty, John A., eds. (1991). The Reader's Companion to American History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Genovese, Eugene D. (1974). Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. New York: Vintage.

Harris, Jessica (1995). A Kwanzaa Keepsake: Celebrating the Holiday with New Traditions and Feasts. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Harris, Jessica (1999). Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa's Gift to the New World Cooking. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Kittler, Pamela Goyan, and Sucher, Kathryn, eds. (1989). "Black Americans." In Food and Culture in America. New York: Van Nostrand and Reinhold.

Popkin, B. M.; Siega-Riz, A. M.; and Haines, P. S. (1996). "A Comparison of Dietary Trends among Racial and Socioeconomic Groups in the United States." New England Journal of Medicine 335:716-720.

Thompson, Becky W. (1994). A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: American Women Speak Out on Eating Problems. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Wilson, C. R., and Ferris, W. (1989). The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Witt, Doris (1999). Black Hunger. New York: Oxford University Press.

Zinn, Howard (1980). "Drawing the Color Line." In A People's History of the United States. New York: HarperCollins.

Internet Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (2002). "Monitoring the Nation's Health." Available from <http://www.cdc.gov/ nchs/>

  1. S. Census Bureau (2001). "General Demographic Characteristics for the Black or African American Population." Available from <http://www.census.gov>
  2. S. Census Bureau (2001). "Profile of General Demographic Characteristics." Available from <http://factfinder.census.gov>
  3. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010. Available from <http://health.gov/healthypeople>
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