Posts tagged health disparities
Despite slow improvements in the quality of care overall, access is worsening and health care disparities, particularly for minorities and groups with lower socioeconomic status, have seen little to no improvement, according to a new report.
The report, the 11th annual National Healthcare Disparities Report, is conducted annually by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), found that, compared with whites, racial/ethnic minorities receive worse care across 25-40% of quality measures.
Poor and low-income people receive worse care than individuals with high income for about 60% of quality measures.
These disparities are even more pronounced for measures of health care access, and among particular racial/ethnic groups.
Hispanics had worse access to care than Whites for about 60% of measures.
Blacks and Hispanics received worse care than Whites for about 40% of quality measures.
The report concludes:
“To remain competitive, our nation needs to improve access to care, reduce disparities, and accelerate the pace of quality improvement, especially in the areas of preventive care and chronic disease management.”
It is hardest for minorities, like Latinos, in urban areas of the United States to purchase healthy foods close to home, according to a new study, Saludify reports.
The team for the study, led by Dr. Carolyn Cannuscio of the University of Pennsylvania and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, interviewed nearly 500 people about their food shopping habits in West and Southwest Philadelphia.
They also accessed the quality and variety of food offerings at more than 370 stores—about 80% corner stores—in the area.
Most of the corner stores scored very low on the healthy food assessment.
Despite the fact that 90% of the residents in the area said the corner stores were the closest to their residence to shop, only one-third of those residents said they shop at corners stores and instead go further away from home to find healthy foods, according to the study.
There is hope for Philadelphia in the form of a rising popularity in farmers markets and corner store initiatives, like the Healthy Corner Stores Network, that are reforming what healthy options will be available.
The Healthy Corner Stores Network is led by the Philadelphia health department and The Food Trust. They enlist 650 of the 2,000 corner stores in Philadelphia to begin broadening their selections to include fresh produce, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy.
The city has invested about $1.5 million into the program since 2010.
There are incentives for participating stores, with four levels ranging from $100 grants to being given brand new mini-refrigerators or store front signs.
The Indiana Food Market is one example of a corner store that has been reformed to be in the top level of participation in the Healthy Corner Stores Network. They began offering more of the healthy selections and giving customers healthy nutrition information.
They now have a new colorful exterior, eye-catching produce refrigerator displays, and a special display for whole grains.
Their “Fresh Corner” kiosk, that offers free pamphlets, recipes, and cooking demonstrations to customers, is a big hit with the local community. Because of the large Latino population they put up signs and communicate with customers in both English and Spanish.
Diabetes and obesity are the two most significant health threats in South Texas, according to a new report published online in Springer Open Books by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The South Texas Health Status Review, originally self-published in 2008, was updated this year to study more than 35 health conditions and risk factors and how people in South Texas may be differently affected than those in the rest of Texas or nation.
The Review, in addition to singling out diabetes and obesity, also indicates that the South Texas region faces higher rates than the rest of Texas or nation for:
- Cervical, liver, stomach and gallbladder cancers
- Child and adolescent leukemia
- Neural tube defects
- Other birth defects
- Childhood lead poisoning
“The Review is a roadmap of the health inequalities that burden the health of South Texas residents, especially Hispanics, compared the rest of Texas and nation,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., lead editor of the Review and director of the IHPR at the Health Science Center. “We hope this knowledge motivates researchers and public health leaders to create and shape interventions to reverse those inequalities.”
South Texas, a 38-county region spanning 45,000 square miles along the Texas-Mexico border and northward up to Bexar County, is home to 18 percent of the state’s population.
Yet South Texas residents, who are predominantly Hispanics, struggle with lower educational levels, less income and less access to health care.
To chart the health status of the region, Dr. Ramirez teamed up with the Texas Department of State Health Services with support from the Health Science Center’s Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), represented by regional dean Leonel Vela, M.D., and the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC), represented by director Ian M. Thompson, M.D.
The team analyzed county, state and national data to compare South Texas’ incidence, prevalence and mortality rates for more than 35 health indicators—from communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS to cancers to maternal health and even environmental health—to the rest of Texas and the nation by age, sex, race/ethnicity and rural/urban location.
The Review found that South Texas had higher rates, compared to the rest of Texas, for 12 of the health indicators analyzed. Incidence rates for many of the health indicators were even higher for South Texas Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites.
For example, the percentage of obese adults in South Texas (32.7%) was higher than that of the rest of Texas (29.1%) and nation (27%).
Hispanics in South Texas also were more obese (37.9%) than their white counterparts.
“Obesity, a risk factor for diabetes and certain cancers, can be directly linked to lifestyle behaviors, such as inadequate physical activity and poor eating habits,” Dr. Ramirez said. “Prevention research efforts directed at obesity and diabetes could significantly reduce the burden of disease in South Texas communities.”
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization dedicated to reducing and eliminating breast cancer, has announced a new graduate training opportunity in cancer research.
The grants are intended to establish and/or sustain a training program for graduate students who are seeking careers dedicated to understanding and eliminating disparities in breast cancer outcomes across population groups, including Latinos.
By providing funding to outstanding training programs, Komen seeks to ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists will emerge as the next generation of leaders in the field of breast cancer research focused on disparities in breast cancer outcomes.
These leaders will play key roles in reducing breast cancer incidence and mortality, and move us toward the goal of a world without breast cancer.
The research training program should be designed to meet the following goals:
- Attract graduate students, specifically those from populations affected by disparities in breast cancer outcomes, into research careers that will emphasize understanding and elimination of these disparities; and
- Empower these students with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively explore the causes of differential breast cancer outcomes and interventions to reduce and eliminate such disparities.
Applicants may request funding of up to $135,000 a year for up to three years.
The pre-application due date is Sept. 5, 2013.
Get more info here.
Latinos, for example, suffer various disparities in cancer, chronic disease, obesity and other conditions.
To learn more, visit the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
You also can check out the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Disparities & Inequalities Report. The report analyzes recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities.
A new program, called Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change, is offering some resources to gain such momentum.
Try out the program’s new FAIR Database, a comprehensive collection of summaries and systematic reviews of what’s worked in racial/ethnic health disparities interventions. It can be searched by health topic (for instance: asthma, diabetes) or by strategy (for instance: pay for performance, nurse-led interventions).
You can also join the program on Twitter by following @FndgAnswers and receive tips, tools, and updates on the latest developments in disparities research.
The program also offers a six-step framework to help people and organizations reduce disparities and improve health care quality.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series that will highlight work of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in Latino communities.
SaludToday Guest Blogger: Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
President and CEO, RWJF
RWJF and the Trust for America’s Health recently released our annual report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.
Obesity rates in the United States remain unacceptably high, and the epidemic persists in affecting Blacks and Hispanics disproportionately. For the first time, this year’s report examined how the obesity epidemic could impact our future 20 years from now. Ironically, this forecast has made me reflect on the past.
Thirty years ago, I lived in Philadelphia and was an instructor at Temple University. After a long day teaching, I remember heading home with my daughter, who was a preschooler at the time. My office looked down North Broad Street, which ran through some of the worst urban blight of any American city in the past several decades. We wanted to pick up a few items for dinner, but couldn’t find a grocery store or supermarket with the fresh fruit, produce and other healthy foods we were accustomed to eating. About 20,000 people—mostly poor, mostly African-American and Hispanic—lived in that neighborhood and had to cope with this type of disadvantage on a daily basis. What I didn’t know then was that Philadelphia was a microcosm of how policies and environments affect diets, obesity, and health.
At that time, obesity was not on the radar as a major public health concern, and state obesity rates looked tame compared with what we see today. In 1995, Mississippi had an adult obesity rate of 19.4 percent, and Colorado had the lowest rate, 13.9 percent. According to the latest data, Colorado still has the lowest rate, but it has climbed to 20.7 percent. I don’t think we could have imagined it in 1995, but the lowest rate today is higher than the highest rate back then. That’s why it’s so important for us to look ahead to 2030 and try to chart a better course.
The new analysis in this year’s report shows that if obesity rates continue on their current trajectory, it’s estimated that by 2030 adult obesity rates could reach or exceed 44 percent in every state—and could exceed 60 percent in 13 states. If so, new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could skyrocket. Obesity-related health care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.
On the other hand, the analysis also shows that if the average adult body mass index (BMI) was decreased by only 5 percent in each state, we could spare millions of Americans from serious health problems and save billions of dollars in health care spending—between 6.5 percent and 7.8 percent in costs in almost every state. By 2030, this could equate to savings ranging from $1.1 billion in Wyoming to $81.7 billion in California.
We have made important progress toward preventing and reducing obesity around the country, especially among children. For instance, California, Mississippi and New York City are beginning to show decreases in overall rates of childhood obesity. The trends in those areas also have shown us that children who face the biggest obstacles to healthy choices and are at greatest risk for obesity do not always benefit when progress is made. I saw the evidence of this first hand when I lived in Philadelphia. That’s why a study released this fall tells the best story of all.
New data show Philadelphia has reduced its obesity rates in ways that also helped to close the disparities gap. While the city achieved an overall decline in obesity rates among public school students, the largest improvements came among Black male and Hispanic female students. For Black males, rates declined nearly 8 percent; rates for Hispanic females dropped 7 percent.
Although the decrease in childhood obesity rates in Philadelphia is a recent development, community-wide efforts started there more than a decade ago. We need to learn from the City of Brotherly Love and spread the actions and policies that work so all children can enjoy the benefits of better health.
I am now a grand mother and want my grandkids, and their entire generation, to be healthy. If we take effective action, many Americans could be spared from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems, and the savings in health care costs and increased productivity would have a real and positive impact on the economy. Investing in prevention today means a healthier, more productive and brighter future for our country.
Check out Balsera Communications’ infographic on how culture may help prevent Latino health problems.
Latinos face a high risk of certain health problems—heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers—but the infographic argues that, “by infusing some of the most cherished traits of our culture into solutions for our health disparities, we can help overcome them in a fun and effortless way.”
Improving Latinos’ health is certainly rewarding enough.
But we’re especially honored today that SaludToday, the Latino health website, blog and social media campaign directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, was recognized by the 14th annual Web Health Awards, which laud honors the nation’s best digital health resources.
SaludToday earned a “silver” award for its blog and a “merit” award for its Twitter feed.
The IHPR also earned a “merit” award for its quarterly E-newsletter, IHPR Noticias, which trumpets the latest advancements in Latino health disparities news and research.
For the Web Health Awards competition, which is held twice yearly, a panel of 32 experts in digital health media served as judges and selected gold, silver, bronze, and merit winners from nearly 600 entries.
“We’re humbled by the recognition of our efforts to heighten the awareness of Latino health issues and promote research and methods to prevent and/or eliminate those issues,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, who directs the IHPR and its SaludToday campaign. “We’re going to keep pushing the envelope to better all facets of Latino health.”
See the complete list of winners here.
Find the latest in Latino health—from fighting Latino liver cancer to innovative ways to improve life for Latino cancer survivors—in the new E-newsletter from the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The IHPR E-newsletter has these stories:
- Story and Video: Study Links Diabetes, Obesity to Liver Cancer in Latinos (Pg 1)
- Story: How a Professional Abuela Spawned a Health Career (Pg 2)
- Story: Clinical Trials & You (Pg 2)
- Story: Join Study Motivating Cancer Survivors to Get Fit (Pg 3)
- Story and Video: Closing Health Gaps for Latino Cancer Survivors (Pg 4)
- Videos: Health Novelas, Stories of Latino Diabetics, & More (Pg 10)
The E-newsletter is jam-packed with even more info on the latest local and national health disparities-related news, resources and events.
Visit us here.