Monday Health Blog Roundup
by The Opportunity Agenda, Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 12:56:43 PM EDT
- The New York times ran a story on economic inequalities in access to treatment for obese children, of which there are nine million in the United States. While this figure has tripled since 1980, there is a dearth of comprehensive, effective, or affordable programs to address the issue. Summer weight loss programs are generally costly (some cost over $1,000 a week) as most seek to turn a profit. Furthermore, most insurance providers do not cover this cost. Dr. Walter J. Pories, a gastric bypass surgeon, calls the lack of insurance and government financing for such programs "the single most frustrating problem in dealing with childhood obesity."
- The Kaiser Health Disparities Report included three interesting developments:
- The TriCaucus, comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, sent House Speaker Pelosi a letter urging the inclusion of two provisions in the SCHIP reauthorization bill to improve health care access for immigrant children: one eliminating a five-year waiting period for documented immigrants to receive government benefits and another eliminating proof of citizenship as a requirement to receive these benefits. According to the TriCaucus, the proof of citizenship requirement has led to hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens to be denied coverage because parents could not find the required documentation. The TriCaucus wrote to Pelosi, "We urge you to include provisions in this bill which address the needs of children in communities of color and respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss this critical issue."
- A study released last Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported that 27% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. do not have regular health care providers, although many spoke English and 45% had health insurance. Hispanic men, younger adults, and those with little education or without health insurance were found most likely to not have regular health care providers, as reported in the Newark Star-Ledger. 41% of Hispanic adults without regular providers identified "seldom [being] sick" as the primary reason. Given that Hispanic adults actually have disproportionate rates of diabetes and obesity, this presents a unique challenge to providing Hispanics with access to health care that demands real solutions. The authors of the article wrote that the results of the study indicate a "need for providers to encourage Hispanic adults to seek routine health care."
- According to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention and reported in Reuters Health, members of minority groups who have felt discriminated against by their health care providers are less likely to be screened for breast or colon cancers. Of the 11,245 black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American adults aged 40-75 surveyed, 9% of women and 6% of men said they experienced discrimination from their health care providers in the last 5 years. These women were approximately half as likely to have had a mammogram and only two-thirds as likely to have a colorectal cancer screening. Men who had perceived discrimination were 70% less likely to have had a colorectal cancer screening.