American Indians and Alaska Natives
Eliminating health disparities is an important goal for our nation and is one of the four overarching goals of Healthy People 2020. These four goals are:
1. “ Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
2. Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
3. Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
4. Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USHHS], 2014).
Some examples of health disparities follow, but numerous other statistics illuminate these differences as well.
African Americans can expect to live 6 to 10 fewer years than whites and face higher rates of illness and mortality (Mead et al., 2008, p. 20).
The prevalence of diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives is more than twice that for all adults in the United States (USHHS, 2009).
Hispanic and Vietnamese women are twice as likely as white women to face cervical cancer (USHHS, 2009).
African Americans experience rates of infant mortality that are 2.5 times higher than for whites (Mead et al., 2008, p. 20).
Asian and Pacific Islanders make up less than 5% of the total population in the United States but account for more than 50% of Americans living with chronic hepatitis B (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014).
A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7 to 12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers (Russell & Joyner, 2001).
Rural residents are more likely to be obese than urban residents, 27.4% versus 23.9% (Rural Health Research & Policies Centers, 2008).
People with disabilities have the highest proportion of current smokers (29%), followed by American Indian/Alaska Natives (23%), blacks (22%), Hispanics (16%), and Asians (9%); (Drum, McClain, Horner-Johnson, & Taitano, 2011).
Did You Know?
… that April is National Minority Health month? The purpose is to raise awareness of health disparities. Public health agencies across the national engage in activities to raise awareness about the health disparities that exist around issues such as alcohol and drug use and infectious diseases.
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