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Health Among American Indians And Alaskan Natives

1537 words - 7 pages

Health Among American Indians and Alaskan Natives
Shelley Thornton
Grand Canyon University
Family Centered Health Promotion
Minerva Gonzales
December 06, 2015

Health Among American Indians and Alaskan Natives
When compared to the National average inequality and the persistent challenges that American Indians and Alaska Natives face are troubling. Demographics and economy along with poor health standards, drug and alcohol use and disproportionate disease burden exist due to inadequate education, high rates of unemployment, discrimination in the delivery of health care and cultural differences. In this paper we will explore Native Americans current health status and the ...view middle of the document...

2). With the growth of Indian gaming operations the problem of poverty has only been adjusted in select areas. As an example the unemployment rate on the Blackfoot Reservation has been 69% while the national unemployment rate in 2014 was 6.7 (Modern Social Statistics, 2015, p. 3). There has been some improvement for income in recent years for Native Americans averaging $7,942 in 2000 yet they still do not catch up to the national average of $21,587. “The ordinary Native American family (3.41) is larger than the American national average, yet only 30% have health insurance” ("Modern Social Statistics," 2015, p. 3). Higher incomes give access to medical care, enable them to live in safer housing and increase the opportunity to participate in health-promoting behaviors. The American Indian and Alaska Native population as a whole is younger and has a lower education level. “One in three American Indians and Alaska Natives is under age 19 (31%) compared to 26% of the U.S. population, while only 7% of American Indians and Alaska Natives are over the age of 65 compared to 13% of the U.S. population. With regard to educational attainment, four in ten (40%) American Indian and Alaska Native adults have completed at least some college or higher, compared to over half of the overall adult population (54%)” (Artiga, Arguello, & Duckett, 2013, p. 3). Their high poverty, unemployment and lower education levels strongly influence health due to the fact that Native Americans either cannot afford to go to the doctor and don’t ask for help or know how to take care of their own medical needs. “It is significant to note that American Indians/Alaska Natives frequently contend with issues that prevent them from receiving quality medical care. These issues include cultural barriers, geographic isolation, inadequate sewage disposal, and low income” ("Profile," 2015, p. 2).
“American Indians and Alaska Natives born today have a life expectancy that is 4.2 years less than the U.S. all races population (73.7 years to 78.17 years, respectively). They continue to die at higher rates than other Americans in many categories, including chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, unintentional injuries, assault/homicide, intentional self-harm/suicide, and chronic lower respiratory diseases” ("Indian Health," 2015, p. 1). To help combat preventable illnesses, in 2006 Native American children received the same recommended vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, Hib, polio and chicken pox. Smoking is another great concern because “out of all races and ethnic groups, Native Americans have the highest rate of smoking. As of 2008, about 32.2% of Native American adults smoked. This is in contrast to a rate of 21.8% for white adults” ("Modern Social Statistics," 2015, p. 5). Another considerable concern that will affect generations to come is the rate of fetal alcohol syndrome babies born. “Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder rates are higher than the national average in some...

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