HEALTH PROMOTION AMONG DIVERSE POPULATIONS
Even though the government of the United States of America has a responsibility to provide healthcare services to the federally recognized Indian tribes, most of the Alaska Natives have no access to health care (James, Schwartz & Berndt, 2009). Improved healthcare among the Alaska Natives is important as this minority group has a high rate of poverty and a low rate of private health coverage when compared to other racial groups in the United States. The disease pattern among the Alaska Natives is associated with the consequences of limited access to health care, poverty, and cultural dislocation (American Indians and Alaska Natives: Health Disparities Overview, n.d.). High unemployment rates and inadequate education contribute to disparities in health care access and unhealthy lifestyles among the Alaska Native people.
The poverty has contributed to the health problems and the lack of access to needed care. One-third of Alaska Natives who are nonelderly are in families whose incomes are under the federal poverty level. Their rate of poverty is about twice as high as that of the overall population in the U.S. About one-half of this minority group are low-income earners which is below the federal poverty level by 200 percent, compared to one-quarter of the whites (James, Schwartz & Berndt, 2009). Most of the Alaska Native households earn below $ 20,000 as compared to the entire United States where most households report incomes in the range of $50,000-$75,000 (Alaska Native Health Status Report, 2009). About one person in five Alaska Natives has a high school diploma. Just a mere 13 percent of the nonelderly adults possess a college diploma while 32 percent of the whites are in a possession of one. Also, the rate of school dropout among Alaska Native students is about twice the dropout rate in the United States (Alaska Native Health Status Report, 2009).
This lower levels of education are associated with an increase in risks of health problems that contribute to high mortality rates in these communities. People with low education levels can engage in activities that are harmful to their health unknowingly, for example, someone who dropped out of school in third grade will not be in a position to know that smoking can cause lung cancer, or alcoholism can cause liver cirrhosis. Alaska Natives have highest rates of most of the health conditions. Around one in five individuals possess 2 or more chronic health conditions. Also, the prevalence of diabetes among them is more than twice the national prevalence. They have high rates of obesity when they are compared to other ethnic and racial groups and have the highest reported rate of being depressed or anxious. Over one-quarter, 27 percent, of them are current smokers, and 19 percent of them are binge drinkers (James, Schwartz & Berndt, 2009). This risky behavior leads to adverse health conditions, for example, cancer, heart problems, and liver disease. Unintentional injuries are among the main causes of death among the Alaska Natives, …