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Minority Men’s Health Disparities Reaching Crisis Proportions
by Pam Chwedyk Minority Nurse Writer
When it comes to health, American men who are non-white and poor are suffering from such a disproportionate burden of serious health problems compared to white males that some public health leaders believe the situa-tion has become a national crisis that will continue to worsen unless urgent interventions are made.
A Poor Man’s Plight: Uncovering the Disparity in Men’s Health, a study of the health status of black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American and mixed race men recently published by Community Voices: Health Care for the Underserved (a national initiative supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) presents overwhelming evidence that minority men are at a substantially higher risk of suffering from such illnesses as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases than their white counterparts.
Men of color were also found to face substantial disparities in access to health care services and health insurance.
Some of the study’s most troubling findings include:
African-American males have a higher age-adjusted death rate than any other racial/ethnic group.
Men of color account for 70% of all homicide deaths in the U.S.
Even though many of the health problems that affect minority men are preventable and treatable, men of color have disproportionate rates of morbidity and mortality due to barriers to care that result in low utilization of health services and a lack of appropriate health promotion activities.
In 1997, only 17% of Caucasian men between the ages of 18 and 64 had no health insurance. In contrast, 46% of Latino men, 28% of African-American men, 26% of Asian/Pacific Islander men and 23% of Native American men were uninsured.
For more information about this study, or to order a free copy, contact Community Voices at (800) 819-9997. You can also download a copy of the 30-page report from www.communityvoices.org.