Visible and Invisible Trends in Black Men's Health: Pitfalls and Promises for Addressing Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Inequities in Health

Annu Rev Public Health. 2016;37:295-311. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032315-021556.


Over the past two decades, there has been growing interest in improving black men's health and the health disparities affecting them. Yet, the health of black men consistently ranks lowest across nearly all groups in the United States. Evidence on the health and social causes of morbidity and mortality among black men has been narrowly concentrated on public health problems (e.g., violence, prostate cancer, and HIV/AIDS) and determinants of health (e.g., education and male gender socialization). This limited focus omits age-specific leading causes of death and other social determinants of health, such as discrimination, segregation, access to health care, employment, and income. This review discusses the leading causes of death for black men and the associated risk factors, as well as identifies gaps in the literature and presents a racialized and gendered framework to guide efforts to address the persistent inequities in health affecting black men.

Keywords: African American; health equity; intersectionality; men's health; men's health disparities; social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Cause of Death
  • Environment
  • Exercise
  • Gender Identity
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / ethnology
  • Male
  • Men's Health / ethnology*
  • Racism / ethnology
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Determinants of Health / ethnology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States