Report: Philadelphia Black men live an average 69 years — the city’s lowest life expectancy

Higher risk of homicide, heart disease, cancer and infant mortality are all threats to longevity for Black men in the City of Brotherly Love. Now that officials know that, they say they can turn it around.

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Black men who live in Philadelphia live an average of 69 years – the lowest average life expectancy rate out of all of the city’s population groups, according to a report released by the city’s health department.

In Brotherly Love: Health of Black Men and Boys in Philadelphia, the first report of its kind on Black men in Philly, commissioned by the city’s health department, along with the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement and the Mayor’s Commission for African-American Males, reasons for the lower life expectancy included an increased chance of homicide, cancer, developing cardiovascular disease, overdosing on drugs, and infancy death, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Further, the report found that more than 40 percent of Black men in Philly have hypertension and nearly one in three Black men is considered obese. Additionally, Black boys were found to have experienced nine times the hospitalizations for asthma than their white counterparts.

“The first step to solving any problem is drawing attention to it,” said Thomas Farley, city health commissioner, about the report’s findings, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The Brotherly Love report shows that, while Philadelphia has many initiatives to promote health, African American men are still not as healthy as other demographic groups and not as healthy as they could be.”

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Dwayne Wharton, vice chair of the Mayor’s Commission on African American Males, told the Inquirer that his office will explore ways to use its resources to combat the longstanding health issues among Black men in Philly.

The findings come as Black men have increased their health insurance coverage in the city, after President Obama rolled out the Affordable Care Act, which also expanded Medicaid eligibility. Also, there have been gains in the number of high school, college and graduate school graduation rates among Black men in Philly.

Even still, poverty often impacts health outcomes, the report found. Roughly 23 percent of Black men in Philly live in poverty, according to the Inquirer.

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