Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Minority Health Awareness Month- April

Many are unaware that April is the month where we focus on promoting Minority Health. It is an effort to bring awareness to the health disparities that exist and to also educate and encourage minorities to take charge of their health and wellness. The statistics from the Office of Minority Health, clearly indicates that minorities have taken the lead in mortality rates in the following areas:

Asthma

• From 2003-2005, African American children had a death rate 7 times that of non-Hispanic White children.
• African Americans had asthma-related emergency room visits 4.5 times more often than Whites in 2004.
• American Indian/Alaska Native adults were 60% more likely to be diagnosed with asthma, in 2006.
• Asian Americans generally have lower rates of asthma than the White population, but they had a 50% greater death rate in 2003.
• Puerto Rican Americans have almost three times the asthma rate as compared to the overall Hispanic population.
• Puerto Ricans report 2.5 times more asthma attacks per year than non-Hispanic Whites.

Cancer

• Although breast cancer is diagnosed 10% less frequently in African American women than White women, African American women are 34% more likely to die from the disease.
• American Indian Women are 1.7 times as likely to die from cervical cancer as compared to white women.
• Asian/Pacific Islander men and women have higher incidence and mortality rates for stomach and liver cancer.
• In 2004, Hispanic women are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white women to be diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Chronic Liver Disease

• African American men are 80% more likely to have chronic liver disease than non-Hispanic White men.
• Asian Americans are 2.2 times more likely to die from chronic liver disease, as compared to non-Hispanic Whites.
• Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with chronic liver disease, as compared to non-Hispanic Whites.
• Both Hispanic men and women have a chronic liver disease rate that is twice that of the White population.
• Hispanic men and women are almost twice as likely to die from chronic liver disease, as compared to the non-Hispanic White population.
• In 2004, chronic liver disease was the fifth leading cause of death for all American Indian/Alaska Native men, and the third leading cause of death for men, ages 35-44.
• The overall death rate for American Indian/Alaska Natives is 2.6 times higher than for the White population, in 2005.

Diabetes

• African American adults were 1.9 times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.
• American Indian/Alaska Native adults were 2.3 times as likely as white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes.
• In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians are more than 5.7 times as likely as Whites living in Hawaii to die from diabetes.
• Mexican American adults were 1.9 times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.

Heart Disease

• African Americans are 1.4 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to have high blood pressure.
• American Indian/Alaska Native adults are 1.3 times as likely as White adults to have high blood pressure.
• Overall, Asian/Pacific Islander adults are less likely than white adults to have heart disease and they are less likely to die from heart disease.
• Mexican American women are 1.2 times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to be obese.

Hepatitis

• In 2005, non-Hispanic Blacks were almost twice as likely to die from viral hepatitis, as compared to non-Hispanic Whites.
• In 2006, American Indian/Alaska Natives were 2.7 times more likely to develop a case of Hepatitis C, as compared to the White population.
• In 2006, Asian Americans were 1.8 times more likely to contract Hepatitis A, as compared to Whites.
• Hispanics are three times more likely to be diagnosed with Hepatitis A than non-Hispanic Whites.
• In 2002, Black children were 3.2 times more likely than White children to be diagnosed with acute viral Hepatitis B.

HIV/AIDS
• African American males have 7.7 times the AIDS rate as non-Hispanic white males.
• American Indian/Alaska Native women have 2.8 times the AIDS rate as non-Hispanic white women.
• Hispanic females have almost 5 times the AIDS rate as non-Hispanic white females.
• Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander are twice as likely to be diagnosed with AIDS as the White population.
Obesity

• From 2001-2004, African American women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women.
• Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders are 3.7 times more likely to be obese than the overall Asian American population.
• In 2003- 2004 Mexican American children, between the ages 6-11, were 1.3 times more likely to be overweight as Non- Hispanic White Children.
• American Indian/Alaskan Natives are 1.6 times as likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic whites.

Stroke

• African American adults are twice as likely than their White adult counterparts to have a stroke.
• In general, American Indian/Alaska Native adults are 60% more likely to have a stroke than their White adult counterparts.
• In general, Asians/Pacific Islander adults are less likely than white adults to have suffered a stroke, and they are less likely to die from a stroke.
• In 2005, Hispanic men were 15% less likely to die from a stroke than non-Hispanic white men.

These are just a few of the many other diseases that affect the mortality rates of the minority population. The main purpose of this article is not only to bring awareness but to also activate a change in behaviors. Take advantage of the free and low cost screenings; visit your doctors regularly; eat healthy; exercise and pass on the information to others. Do not become complacent with these themed months,awareness pins, buttons or symbols but take a good look at yourself - realize that your actions may determine the time you have here to enjoy life with your loved ones.

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