Minority Health Disparities

Why I break World Records

Minority Health Disparities

Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted, Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate

Pandemic’s weight falls on Hispanics and Native Americans, as deaths pass 150,000

Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease Risk in the United States

The lack of African American Medical Doctors

New Jump Swing Mind & Body Fitness Program for the 21st Century

2019 marks my 39th anniversary of being a Guinness Book World Record holder. As I reflect on these decades, I can remember back in 1977, meeting Wilbur Friefeld, the man who actually owned the rights to the Galloping Gourmet. After my first book party, I sat in his office and he stated "Donald, I like your public speaking even better than I like your writing, but the nature of prejudice is such at this time that I don't know how much I will be able to do for you". He did not say those things to me to be mean or discouraging; he said them as a matter of fact. A few years later, while back in New York, I remember talking to the editor of The Whole Life Times about getting a write up in their publication. He stated "Oh yea, you're the vegetarian preacher. We're going to write about you…but don't hold your breath waiting." I took his advice, the following year; I broke my second world record. It is with great pleasure that I see celebrities of color doing commercials for healthy lifestyle and weight loss programs. Not in the name of being a size 2 or some other such nonsense, but in the name of reducing their chances of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses associated with obesity.

For over 4 decades, my public health message has included the fact that African American women had some of the highest rates of diabetes as well as amputation of limbs as a result of complications of the disease.

In the United States, black women are 2 to 6 times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy than white women, depending on where they live (American Medical Association, 1999). Total maternal mortality rates ranged from 1.9 deaths per 100,000 in New Hampshire to 22.8 in the District of Columbia. When data from 1979 to 1992 were analyzed, the overall pregnancy-related mortality ratio was 25.1 deaths per 100,000 for black women, 10.3 for Hispanic women, and 6.0 for non-Hispanic white women (Hopkins et al., 1999). These rates have not improved between 1987 and 1996 (American Medical Association, 1999). The leading causes of maternal death are hemorrhage, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and embolism (Berg, Atrash, Koonin, & Tucker, 1996). Black and nonwhite women have almost 3 times the risk of death from hemorrhage than white women (Chichakli, Atrash, Mackay, Musani, & Berg, 1999).

HIV Infection Among People 50 and Older Concerns WHO March 2009

A "surprisingly high" number of people over age 50 worldwide are infected with HIV and the number of cases in older adults may be growing, says a World Health Organization study released Tuesday.

For example, between 2003 and 2006, the rate of HIV infection among Americans 50 and older increased from 20 percent to 25 percent. Between 1996 and 2006, the rate of HIV infection among people 50 or older in Brazil increased from 7.5 to 15.7 per 100,000, Agence France Presse reported.

"The frequency of infection with HIV in older people is worrying. We need to understand why and when these people are becoming infected so that public health campaigns can be better targeted to prevent such infections," said WHO scientist George Schmid.

One problem is that HIV is widely regarded as a young people's disease, the WHO said. This leads to less HIV screening among older people, which results in delayed diagnosis. In addition, older people are less likely than younger people to practice safe sex, AFP reported.

"My people perish for lack of knowledge."


For over 30 years, I have been aware that neither the mainstream health organizations nor the minority organizations, have done enough to educate these populations regarding health, nutrition and disease.

The fact that African Americans and other minorities have some of the highest rates of nutrition and life style related illnesses, is the primary motivation to my breaking world records along with the desire to demonstrate a Sports Nutrition program that can improve athletic performance and recovery without illegal synthetic drugs.

Looking back over these three decades, I can honestly say, that if I had to do any of those 7 record attempts all over again, I wouldn't drop a minute of an hour of any day. The ideas of Preventative Health and Nutrition are more respected today by the mainstream medical profession than they ever were 30 years ago.

My sincere desire was and continues to be to assist people in reducing their pain and suffering.

As much as there are people who are focusing on Political issues regarding quality of life for people of color in the United States, I will always be an Advocate of the Health and Education factor.

A sick soldier cannot win a war.

Currently, African Americans and native Hawaiians have some of the highet rates of preventable diseases in America

Life Expectancy Reaches New Record

Life Expectancy Pushes Past 78 Years; Death Rate Falls for 11 of 15 Top Causes of Death By Miranda Hitti

WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Louise Chang, MDJune 11, 2008

U.S. life expectancy has hit a new record: 78.1 years for babies born in 2006, says the CDC.

What's more, the death rate for 11 of the top 15 causes of death -- including heart disease, cancer, and stroke -- slowed in 2006.

That's what the CDC's preliminary data show, based on some 2.4 million deaths in 2006. Here are the highlights from the CDC's report.

Life expectancy in 2006 is about four months longer than it was in 2005, according to the CDC.

White women continue to have the longest life expectancy, followed by African-American women, white men, and African-American men. Those patterns have held since 1976, though all groups have seen their life expectancy improve during that time.

Here are the 2006 life expectancy figures for each of those groups:
White women: 81 years
African-American women: 76.9 years
White men: 76 years
African-American men: 70 years

Top Causes of Death Here are the top causes of death for 2006 in the U.S., and the change in their age-adjusted death rate since 2005:

Heart disease: down 5.5%
Cancer: down 1.6%
Stroke: down 6.4%
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (lung diseases): down 6.5%
Accidents: down 1.5%
Alzheimer's disease: down 0.9%
Diabetes: down 5.3%
Influenza and pneumonia: down 12.8% due to a relatively mild flu season
Kidney disease: unchanged
Septicemia (an infection that affects the blood and other parts of the body): down 2.7%
Suicide: down 2.8%
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis: down 3.3%
High blood pressure: down 5%
Parkinson's disease: down 1.6%
Homicide: down 1.6%

The decreases in the death rate for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and homicide may have been due to chance, and the kidney disease death rate held steady, so that leaves the CDC confident that 11 of the 15 leading causes of death had lower death rates in 2006 than in 2005.

The list's order is largely unchanged, except that Alzheimer's disease and diabetes traded places.

The preliminary infant death rate dropped 2.3% from 2005 to 2006, the CDC reports.

Best, Worst State Death Rates Among states, Hawaii had the lowest age-adjusted death rate and Mississippi had the highest death rate in 2006, according to the CDC.

But if you fold U.S. territories into that ranking, Guam edged out Hawaii, and American Samoa ranked lower than Mississippi.

The PDN Program focuses on Preventative Health and Nutrtion,Literacy (the foundation of all education),mental health and physical fitness.

According to the 2002 national report card on reading by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), most of our children (64%) are less than proficient in reading even after 12 years of our attempts to teach them:


African American

4th grade 60%

12th grade 46%


4th grade 56%

12th grade 39%

American Indian/Alaska Native

4th grade 49%

12th grade n/a

Asian/Pacific Islander

4th grade 30%

12th grade 27%


4th grade 25%

12th grade 21%


African American

4th grade 88%

12th grade 84%


4th grade 85%

12th grade 78%

American Indian/Alaska Native

4th grade 78%

12th grade 80%

Asian/Pacific Islander

4th grade 63%

12th grade 65%


4th grade 60%

12th grade 58%

"There is a profound reading crisis in the United States. 39%, almost 40%, of fourth graders do not read even at the basic level and a majority of students do not read at the proficient level."

- James Wendorf, Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities (9-11-03 Children of the Code interview)

Reading problems contribute significantly to the perpetuation of socio-economic, racial and ethnic inequities.

"You know if you look at where we are today, the bottom line is for a country like America to be leaving behind about 38-40% of its youngsters in terms of not learning to read is unconscionable. What makes it equally or doubly unconscionable is if you disaggregate those data: 70% approximately of young African Americans kids can’t read. 70%! If you look at Hispanic kids, 65-70%! The fact of the matter is when we do our studies and we identify kids at risk for reading failure, we know that the majority of those kids who are at risk and who will hit the wall as they learn to read are kids from poverty."

- Dr. G. Reid Lyon, Branch Chief, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (9-11-03 Children of the Code interview)


The average scores for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students increased between 1992 and 2005. Looking at the short-term trend, Black and Hispanic students each scored higher on average in 2005 than in 2003. The White-Black and White-Hispanic score gaps narrowed during this same time.

September 2007

The U.S. Department of Education is failing to protect children of color with disabilities from racially disparate discipline. When the IDEA was reauthorized in 2004 Congress added a requirement that states and districts collect, analyze and report data regarding racial disparities in disciplinary treatment.

This misguided federal action, freezing the remedy, undermines the will of Congress and the public at large. Instead of ensuring that states are intervening in districts where these racial disparities are deemed significant, the federal government has recommended inaction to every state. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Special Education Programs (OSEP) has rescinded guidance on the subject and issued a statement recommending that every state stops what they are doing or risk violating the U.S. Constitution.

Action is needed now to thwart OSEP's erosion of the IDEA's protections against racial disparities in discipline. Our research, in collaboration with leading scholars, documented national patterns of large disparities in discipline, suggesting unequal treatment, particularly for Black males, that fully justify the congressional mandate. These patterns persist, unabated. Specifically, in 2005, Blacks comprised approximately 15% of the school aged population ages 6 through 21, but 32,315 Black students with disabilities, nearly half (48%) of the 67,966 reported suspensions, were suspended long-term (more than 10 days). These racial disparities in discipline among students with disabilities suggests a larger failure to provide a free and appropriate public education, a failure that concerns all students with disabilities, but has a disproportionate impact on children of color. If OSEP's latest recommendations are followed, the analysis of racial disparities in discipline will be dropped from IDEA compliance monitoring.

The data suggest that FAPE is denied to large numbers of children of color. Ideally, special education law ensures legal protection against being excluded from school, as it requires a host of behavioral supports and services and procedural protections. OSEP has not successfully ensured that even the basic fundamental IDEA requirements such as due process protections, manifestation determinations, behavioral improvement plans, or continued education are afforded to minority youth with disabilities who are suspended or expelled for more than ten days.

The data suggest that all students with disabilities are not treated equally. For example:

"Black students with disabilities, are more than three times as likely to be suspended (short-term) from school as White students with disabilities," and 2.6 times as likely to be suspended for more than ten days.

The reauthorized IDEA now requires states to collect and report disaggregated race and ethnicity data on students who were suspended "out of school" for one day or more, but this information is not readily available.

Other research suggests that being suspended from school increases the risk of dropping out as well as future incarceration. One study shows that being suspended once increases the risk of dropping out by a factor of three and it is well established that dropping out dramatically increases the risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system. The data also show that both students with disabilities and minority youth are found in disproportionate numbers in the juvenile justice.

Source of data analyzed: www.ideadata.org The analysis and graph were created by Daniel Losen of The Civil Rights Project of UCLA (formerly located at Harvard University).

As a Disability Rights Advocate, I am concerned with the education of ALL Not just those who are in the Headlines