Minority Health Month originally started out as “National Negro Health Week” which was curated by Booker T. Washington. Thanks to his arduous efforts and countless others we have a whole month to highlight the issues in our community. A direct quote from Washington: “without health and long life, all else fails.” Washington felt that minorities had to be in the best health in order to prosper.
His theory wasn’t too far off because African Americans are more likely to die from asthma than non-Hispanic white children. American Indian parents experience infant death sixty percent higher than Caucasians. They also have the highest diabetes rates. In the Asian population, women live longer (85.8 years) than any other ethnic group. (Filipino (81.5 years), Japanese (84.5 years), Chinese women (86.1 years)
There are certain factors which are detrimental to their health. For example, infrequent visits to the doctor for cultural reasons or fear of deportation. These diseases are prevalent in their community as well: hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and liver disease. Hispanic mothers experience low birth weight while delivering. Puerto Ricans also suffer disproportionately from asthma, HIVAIDS, and infant mortality. Mexican-Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes.
For American Indians and Alaska Natives have an infant death rate 60 percent higher than the rate for Caucasians. AI/AN also have high rates of diabetes in their communities.AI/ANs also have disproportionately high death rates from unintentional injuries and suicide. Tuberculosis is prevalent in this community as well.
For Native Hawaiians/ Pacific Islanders have higher rates of smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity. The leading causes of death for Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders include cancer, heart disease, unintentional injuries (accidents), stroke and diabetes. Some other health conditions and risk factors that are prevalent among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders are hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.
So, no race is immune to health ailments there are just certain things we can do to prevent our issues. Prejudices and insecurities have been a major deterrence for people not to take care of themselves. Which is really hurtful to hear but at the same time, it's totally understandable. Death is the one appointment we can't reschedule. Yet, we should do our part in taking care of ourselves in order to live our best life.