More than 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and more than 1 in 3 have prediabetes. Diabetes is a deadly disease that often results in poor quality of life if gone untreated.
Unfortunately, it is also more prevalent in minority groups than in other segments of the population. This is a health equity problem that our society needs to identify and remedy. What is health equity?
In short, it is a fair distribution of wellness among different cultural groups within our society. To learn more about diabetes as a health equity crisis, check out this guide.
What Is Health Equity?
Health equity across a population is the fair distribution of wellness across all cultural and income levels within a society. It means that each demographic group has access to the healthcare resources they require.
Health equity takes into account environmental considerations and all aspects of disparity between demographics to create a non-biased health picture of wellness in all groups.
What Is the Reality?
Unfortunately, there is no health equity among different demographic groups. Minority groups are at a higher risk for many diseases and health problems, including diabetes.
The difference in health equity is so pronounced that the rate of type two diabetes is almost twice as high for those of the Hispanic and Black population than for the White population.
Why Is This?
There are a multitude of factors that contribute to high rates of diabetes in minority groups when compared to the white population. Let's examine a few of them.
The unfortunate reality is that the majority of minority groups in the United States are in a lower income class than their Caucasian counterparts. One of the many problems associated with income disparity is a disparity in access to quality healthcare.
Equity in health care is correlated to income in a capitalist society. If you can't afford insurance, there are very few affordable options for quality care and expensive prescriptions like insulin.
This leaves many minority groups with no avenue to diagnose and treat diseases like diabetes.
Residence in Food Deserts
If you live on a modest income, chances are you can't afford to rent or own a residence in a desirable neighborhood or city. This causes a disproportionate amount of minority groups to reside in food deserts.
These are areas where healthy food is either hard to find, overpriced, or nonexistent. As diabetes is a disease that is highly dependent on eating habits, this can cause more cases to erupt in minority groups without access.
Exposure to Targeted Marketing
Large fast food companies take often take advantage of food desert areas, paying enormous amounts of money for advertising of an affordable way to feed a family, albiet an unhealthy one. If you live in a low-income neighborhood, you are likely to be bombarded by advertisements for fast food.
It is more convenient and cheap to head to a fast-food restaurant down the street than to drive miles to find a healthier, more expensive option.
The unfortunate reality is that many members of minority groups are victims of targeted advertising and have little access to culturally appropriate health information to help educate their decisions, so they often develop diabetes as a result.
Most of the targeted health campaigns and information to educate the population about the dangers of diabetes and the importance of healthy eating are in English. For non-English speakers, the message of these campaigns does not take diverse cultures into account, falls flat and has little impact on preventing disease at all.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately, progress is being made when it comes to health equity and overcoming diabetes in minority groups. The following are some solid steps that can be taken to help those at a health disadvantage.
Improvement of Health Equity Customer Service
Customer service is important to the field of medicine and treating diseases such as diabetes. The first step is to offer customer service options in the native language of those at a disadvantage.
This also includes expanding hours of operation to accommodate those who work minimum wage job schedules, including nights and weekends.
Establishment of a Health Equity Portal
A health equity portal is an electronic means for people to access medical care and information. Those with diabetes can do this from the comfort of their home and establish wellness plans with medical practitioners.
The most appropriate form of a health equity portal would be a health equity app that can be downloaded to a patient's smartphone or another electronic device.
Establishment of Community Gardens
Food deserts are a tricky problem to solve. One of the simplest solutions is to establish an open space where residents can grow their fresh produce. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to prevent diabetes.
Lobbying for Funding
Health equity cannot exist without the proper channels of funding. Nonprofit organizations can only do so much when it comes to combating the health crises minority groups face.
At a certain point, grant money, political support, and grassroots organizations all need to play a role. As the health crisis of diabetes in minority groups continues to exacerbate itself, this will become more relevant.
What Can I Do as an Individual?
As an individual, dealing with the health crisis of diabetes in your community can seem overwhelming. There are, however, a few things that you can do on an individual basis to alleviate it.
Numerous aid organizations throughout the nation and world are always looking for volunteers. If you want to make a difference, stepping onto the frontlines of the food health crisis is the most direct way to do this.
If you are fortunate enough to be economically comfortable, you can use some of your extra income to donate to a worthy cause.
From securing healthy foods for minority groups to funding the establishment of community gardens, your dollars can go a long way.
Many of the members of your community may not understand what diabetes is or how they could fall victim to it. Now that you have armed yourself with the knowledge in this guide, it is time to spread it. You might even save a life.
Do Your Part
Health equity in America is a goal that we should all aspire to reach. What is health equity? It is an equal standard of health and wellness for all citizens, regardless of race, culture, or creed.
If you want to see how you can help reach the lofty goal of an equal level of healthcare for everyone, contact us today to join our team. We operate all around the world and could use your help to fight health inequity.