April is National Minority Health Month and a time remind ourselves of the need to focus on some of the health disparities that have become all to common in the United States. While I have previously discussed the growing prevalence of chronic diseases and the fact that many of them are preventable, per the CDC:
Though health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality have improved for most Americans, some minorities experience a disproportionate burden of preventable disease, death, and disability compared with non-minorities.
Here are some statistics from the CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2011:
- Among the majority of sex-age groups, the prevalence of obesity is lower among whites than among blacks and Mexican-Americans. Among females, the prevalence of obesity is highest among blacks, whereas the prevalence among males aged ≤20 years is highest among Mexican-Americans.
- The highest infant mortality rate was for non-Hispanic black women with a rate 2.4 times that for non-Hispanic white women.
- A higher percentage of black women (37.9%) than white women (19.4%) died before age 75 as a result of CHD (coronary heart disease), as did black men (61.5%) compared with white men (41.5%).
- Approximately one of every five infants born to non-Hispanic black mothers in 2007 was born preterm, compared with one of every eight to nine infants born to non-Hispanic white and Hispanic women.
- Older adults, non-Hispanic blacks, U.S.- born adults, and adults with lower family income, lower education, public health insurance, diabetes, obesity, or a disability had a higher prevalence of hypertension than their counterparts.
Comprehensive efforts must be made to reduce these disparities including programs in the community at home and at work. Programs such as The Prevention Plan can provide a company and their employees with the education, support and action programs to assist the individual in understanding and improving their health, thereby reducing disparities that impact, health, health care costs and productivity.
Other services such as our BirthWait® high risk maternity program which currently works with pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries in Northeast Arkansas and seeks to reduce the incidence of preterm delivery can also assist. This program is operating in an area with a large minority population that has been experiencing high preterm delivery rates. BirthWait which has been renewed by the State of Arkansas a number of times is showing some good success.
Here are some other links for more information: