Health for Boys and Young Men of Color

In the United States there are pronounced disparities in health by race, ethnicity, class, and gender for a wide range of outcomes, and research suggests that young males of color are particularly at risk. A full understanding of health by race and gender requires attention to the social conditions in which health is embedded. There is wide variation in the physical and social conditions experienced by children and adolescents in the United States, and these conditions vary dramatically by race, ethnicity and gender. As such, this roundtable discussed aspects of the physical and social environment that influence the health of young males to understand and address the magnitude of the health disparities they face by race and ethnicity.

This roundtable looked at the data on the health of adolescent (ages 11-19) young males of color, and discussed how these health outcomes are shaped by disadvantaged contexts and unequal opportunities. The participants noted how a variety of social factors—including early life conditions, education and employment opportunities, neighborhood conditions, the criminal justice system, the educational system, health care, and experiences of discrimination and chronic trauma— affect the health of young males of color and the disparities that are observed.

This and other roundtable discussions informed an issue brief from RWJF and CLASP: "Investing in Boys and Young Men of Color: The Promise and Opportunity."