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Discussion: Shortfalls for Minorities
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Discussion: Shortfalls for Minorities
One variable of social circumstances, poverty, can be measured in many ways. One approach is to measure the number of people who are recipients of federal aid programs, such as food stamps, public housing, and Head Start. Another method is through labor statistics, but the most common way is through the federal government’s measure of poverty based on income. The federal government’s definition of poverty is based on a threshold defined by income, and it is updated annually. So how is poverty related to ethnicity?
Poverty is higher among certain racial and ethnic groups (see Figure 1.5) and is a contributing factor to health disparities because poverty affects many factors, including where people live and their access to health care. What may not be surprising is that low SES groups more often act in ways that harm their health than do high SES groups. It is perplexing that some of these unhealthy behaviors are adopted despite the monetary and health costs. For example, smoking cigarettes and alcohol consumption require that the person spend money on these items. Pampel, Krueger, and Denney (2010) noted some important facts related to socioeconomic factors in health behaviors. One example is access to health aids. Adopting many healthy behaviors does not require money, but having more money to pay for tobacco cessation aids, joining fitness clubs and weight loss programs, and buying more expensive fruits, vegetables, and lean meats can help people achieve
Medical Care The shortfalls for minorities in the health care system in the United States can be categorized into three general areas: (1) lack of access to care, (2) lower quality of care, and (3) limited providers with the same ethnic background.
Lack of Access to Medical Care Research has shown that without access to timely and effective preventive care, people may be at risk for potentially avoidable conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and immunizable conditions (National Center for Health Statistics, 2006). Access to health care is also important for prompt treatment and follow-up to illness and injury.
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