Category: Diabetes Management and Prevention, Heart Disease Management and Prevention, Tobacco Cessation and Prevention

Chronic Disease Prevalence for Louisiana Minorities

Louisiana is home to a melting pot of people, making up the rich culture of our state. Unfortunately, not all of our residents are afforded the same access to care. April is National Minority Health Awareness Month, so Well-Ahead Louisiana is sharing the facts on chronic disease care for minorities in our state.

We know that people of color experience higher rates of chronic health conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity. This is due to the institutionalized racism and discrimination faced by communities of color.1 It is common for people who have faced discrimination to be hesitant to seek medical treatment. One in every three Black adults has personally experienced racial discrimination when visiting the doctor, and many have avoided seeking medical care as a result.2

Heart Disease

In Louisiana, heart disease is the leading cause of death and strokes are the fifth cause of death in Louisiana.3 For non-Hispanic Black residents, high blood pressure is significantly more prevalent than in non-Hispanic white residents.4

The prevalence of heart disease is 46.7% for Non-Hispanic Black Louisiana residents versus 38.4% for non-Hispanic white Louisiana residents.


The prevalence of diabetes in Louisiana adults is 20% higher compared to the US.4 However, Black adults are at least 45% more likely to have diabetes compared to all other races and ethnicities in Louisiana.4 This disparity can primarily be linked to significantly higher prevalence of biological risk factors such as BMI and blood pressure in communities of color. However, as mentioned earlier, the higher prevalence of these risk factors in communities of color can be linked back to the effects of institutionalized racism and discrimination.5

Prevalence of Diabetes by Race and Ethnicity4

BlackWhite Hispanic American

Tobacco Use

Non-Hispanic Black males have the highest prevalence of smoking in Louisiana.


When looking at the leading risk factor of preventable cause of disease and death, tobacco use, we know that one in five adults smoke in Louisiana.4,6 However, non-Hispanic Black (21.2%) residents are more likely to smoke when compared to their non-Hispanic white counterpart (19.4%).4 Black residents also have higher death rates from tobacco-related causes and are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke.7

The tobacco industry has targeted Black residents and strategically marketed its products to appeal to the community, including placing more advertisements in predominantly Black neighborhoods and in publications popular with Black audiences.7

This year’s theme for National Minority Health Month is “Better Health Through Better Understanding,” so in an effort to raise awareness, we hope this article gave you a better understanding of the health disparities many residents in our state experience.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from

2 Frameworks & ChangeLab Solutions. Retrieved from

3 National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from:

4 BRFSS, 2021.

5 National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from:

6 Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from:

7 Truth Initiative. Retrieved from: