October 13, 2023

This Week

  • Top of Mind - Diet and Exercise
  • The Nutritional Corner by Andrea Breaux
  • Black Children Do Worse with Allergies and Asthma than White Children
  • The Impact of the Supreme Court's Affirmative Action on Diversity in Health
  • Black Americans Voice Widespread Concerns Regarding the Portrayal of Their Community in the News Media
  • Eating Disorder Symptoms
  • How to Drink Coffee
  • COVID-19 Update: Study shows 75% of Infants Hospitalized with COVID-19 Born to Unvaccinated Women

Top of Mind

We often focus this newsletter on what makes us healthy but not enough on what can keep us healthy, after all, we are the African American Wellness Project (AAWP). So, right now, I will share with you some of the ideas the AAWP has on how you can stay healthy.

  1. A good diet is crucial and is the centerpiece of a healthy program. Look up the Mediterranean Diet. That is the one I have settled on.
  2. Regular exercise, any will do. A minimum of 4,000 steps or 30 minutes, 3 or 4 times per week.
  3. Also, don't underestimate the power of regular visits to the doctor or your provider. They can help detect major problems early on, so be prepared for the visit. 
  4. Know your family's medical history. I am a strong believer in knowledge is power.
  5. Last, but not least, keep an eye on your stress levels. Notice when you're feeling off, depressed, anxious, or forgetful. It's these little signs that can make a big difference in catching clinical problems early.

Stay Healthy,

Dr. Mike

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The Nutritional Corner by Andrea Breaux

Eat Your Way to Wealth and Wellness - How to Enjoy Delicious and Nutritious Foods Without Breaking the Bank.

Healthy eating benefits your health and budget. It can avoid or control diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. These diseases can cost you a lot in drugs, operations, and hospital stays. Eating foods with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber can prevent diseases and reduce healthcare expenses.

Black Children Do Worse with Allergies and Asthma than White Children - At Least Up to Age 10

Black children have higher prevalence of Asthma and increased rates of Asthma morbidity and mortality than white children, which has been documented for decades. This disparity remains persistent. 


In my years as a pediatrician and pediatric allergist, it's disheartening to see the children I consult for Allergy and Asthma lacking the comprehensive care they deserve. They have been treated, but insufficiently evaluated. This holds especially true for many Black families I encounter.


If your child experiences Eczema or Asthma symptoms, especially at an early age, seeking medical attention from a physician who truly grasps the complex interplay of allergy, environment, and genetics is crucial. The earlier the intervention, the better the outcome.

The Impact of the Supreme Court's Affirmative Action on Diversity in Health Care: A Critical Examination 

According to three illuminating articles from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the recent decision on Affirmative Action has raised concerns. Brace yourself for what lies ahead:

  • Reduction in the diversity of the healthcare workforce, impeding the inclusion of diverse physicians.
  • A setback in efforts to tackle the social determinants of health that perpetuate poor health outcomes.
  • The potential for fewer Black Physicians, thereby exacerbating health disparities.

Honestly, I anticipate the health equity movement might lose steam at some point. Yet, here we are, with the Supreme Court having put a lock on the metaphorical bacon can. We're left, determined as ever, to find another way to improve the social determinants of health and health equity.

Black Americans Voice Widespread Concerns Regarding the Portrayal of Their Community in the News Media.

In a new study, by the Pew Research Center, an alarming number of Black adults acknowledge encountering racist or racially insensitive portrayals in the news. 

  • 80% express witnessing these depictions often or sometimes. 
  • 63% believe that news surrounding Black people tends to lean more negatively compared to coverage of other racial or ethnic groups.
  •  57% feel that the media only focuses on specific segments of Black communities, rather than representing the wide array of perspectives and experiences. 
  • 46% of Republicans and 44% of Democrats say that news coverage largely stereotyped Black people.
  • 57% of those in lower income levels said news coverage about Black people was more negative than it was about other groups. That number jumped to 75% of wealthier respondents.
  • A large majority of those surveyed, young and old, expressed little confidence that things would improve much in their lifetime.
  • 40% of survey participants said it was important to see Black journalists report on issues about race and racial inequality, the race of journalists wasn’t that important about general news.

Consider the profound influence that this coverage can have on the self-esteem and mental well-being of our children. Moreover, such coverage creates perceptions of Black Americans that subconsciously influence healthcare providers' biases, obstructing positive health outcomes for African Americans and perpetuating the barriers caused by racism.

Eating Disorder Symptoms

Research published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology in 2018 found that Black girls were at higher initial levels of all eating disorder symptoms and register a greater decline of symptoms over time.

Black girls had a greater likelihood of being in the decreasing trajectories for dieting, bulimia/food preoccupation, and total eating disorder symptom scores. White girls were more likely to follow increasing trajectories of dieting and total eating disorder symptom scores compared to Black girls, according to that same study.

There is limited research regarding how eating disorders affect Black children, according to Melissa Spann, chief clinical officer at Monte Nido & Affiliates, although they are less likely to be diagnosed with anorexia than white children. “However, once the diagnosis is made, they've often been struggling for a longer period of time, so what that tells us is that people are struggling in silence and that eating disorders are going undiagnosed, and some of that research comes particularly from primary physicians,” she said.

How to Drink Coffee

Coffee can be many things: a delightful morning ritual, a cherished cultural tradition, and even a surprisingly healthy drink. Studies suggest that coffee lovers tend to live longer and have lower risks of Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, cardiovascular conditions, and even certain cancers.


However, it's important to be mindful of the consequences of consuming too much coffee. Most of the risks associated with coffee come from its caffeine content. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that most adults can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. Excessive caffeine intake can lead to a racing heart, jitters, restlessness, queasiness, and sleep troubles. In some cases, it may even cause headaches, acid reflux, and, rarely, tremors or vomiting. If you're expecting, it's recommended to limit your caffeine intake to a maximum of 200 milligrams. So, it's essential to know and respect your limits.


The good news is that most people are in tune with how their bodies react to caffeine. They naturally reduce their intake once they sense even mild symptoms of caffeine overload. For this reason, serious side effects from moderate coffee consumption are rare and uncommon. So, enjoy your coffee responsibly, savor the moment, and listen to what your body tells you! 

COVID-19 Update: Study shows 75% of Infants Hospitalized with COVID-19 Born to Unvaccinated Women

This week, studies in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describe the landscape of COVID-19 vaccination among women of reproductive age and those who are pregnant, showing better outcomes for infants whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy.

Maternal mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 have been widely recommended by providers for more than 2 years, and now evidence from the Omicron surge shows they were effective in preventing hospitalizations for infants ages 6 months or less.

Currently, babies 6 months and older can get vaccinated.

For more information, go to our website at www.aawellnessproject.org. or listen to our podcast at Blackdoctorsspeak.org on any podcast platform.

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About the Editor 

Dr. Michael LeNoir is just your neighborhood doc — a world-renowned allergist, a board-certified pediatrician, recognized expert on asthma in inner cities, and the President and Founder of AAWP. Serving the Bay Area since 1977, Dr. LeNoir has dedicated his career to helping African Americans navigate a healthcare system he saw first-hand that is fundamentally build on racial biases. Read More

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