Did you know that April is National Minority Health Month? Organizations around the country take this time to spread awareness of illnesses and health concerns that negatively impact racial and ethnic minority groups. This includes people from African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and other minority backgrounds within the United States.
Thanks to these increased awareness efforts, April is a great time to learn about common diseases affecting minority groups along with things they can do to reduce their risk of developing common health problems. Doing so helps move our society forward in health equality across race, ethnicity, social standing, and income levels.
African American Health Disparities
Unfortunately, there is a significant amount of both racial and ethnic healthcare inequity in the United States. This includes wide differences amongst racial groups when it comes to health coverage, chronic diseases, mental health, and mortality. For example, African Americans tend to be much less likely than non-Hispanic whites to have health insurance. They are also more likely to report poor health and higher body weight than non-Hispanic whites.
For African Americans, the leading causes of death are heart disease and cancer. In fact, this group has the highest mortality rate for all cancers combined when compared with other racial and ethnic groups. Sadly, Black Americans also face higher infant death numbers, nearly twice the national average.
Hispanic American Health Disparities
For Hispanic Americans, there are also major health disparities that need to be addressed across the board. The government defines Hispanic or Latino people as those of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. This racial group has three times more uninsured people in the population than non-Hispanic whites.
Hispanics also have higher rates of diabetes, with over twenty percent of adults reporting to have this condition. Unfortunately, approximately a quarter of Hispanics also have high blood pressure levels. When it comes to cancer, Hispanic women are forty percent more likely to have cervical cancer and twenty percent more likely to die from it when compared to non-Hispanic white women.
COVID-19 Vaccination Disparities
With COVID-19 still affecting the population, it remains critical for people to get vaccinated if they want to avoid severe symptoms and health problems. Racial minority groups face many challenges when it comes to accessing these important vaccines. They also have a more difficult time accepting vaccines.
Both of these challenges stem from a host of social, political, economic, and environmental factors. As a consequence, Black and Hispanic people are less likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 than people in other racial minority groups and non-Hispanic white people. Some ways to help combat these challenges include:
- Sharing clear & accurate information about COVID-19
- Raising awareness about the positive benefits of getting vaccinated
- Answering common questions and concerns
- Communicating in ways that resonate with minority community members
As you can see, it is so important to spread awareness about health disparities that impact racial minority groups. By doing so, we take steps to reduce negative health outcomes in minority populations while showing these communities how to take charge of their well-being in the face of challenging conditions. Increased awareness also makes it more likely for health care systems and structures to change in favor of racial minority groups.
In the future, we hope that everyone has equal opportunities to be as healthy as possible. This can be achieved by eliminating disparities and making a conscious effort to improve the health of all American population groups, regardless of race or ethnicity.