The Missouri Foundation for Health has compiled five reports on health disparities within the state as part of their Health Equity Series, assembling a variety of data sources in an effort to document inequities impacting minority groups.
African American Health Disparities in Missouri provides evidence that African Americans are trailing the state’s white population on a number of important health indicators. Their rates of chronic and infectious diseases (including diabetes, asthma, tuberculosis, certain cancers, HIV, and nearly all STIs) are significantly higher that that of whites. They also are more likely to lack access to adequate preventative services such as prenatal care and cancer screenings, causing them to visit the emergency room more frequently for care related to chronic disease and injuries. Missouri’s African American population were found to be more at risk for death due to nearly all causes such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—and African Americans are nearly eleven times more likely to die from homicide than their white neighbors.
MFH found that the health situation of Hispanics, the state’s fastest growing population group, is unfortunately not much better than that of African Americans.
Their report on Hispanic Health Disparities in Missouri explains that while Hispanics fare slightly better than African Americans in terms of diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and obesity, their rates are still significantly higher than Missouri’s white population. The percentage of mothers receiving adequate prenatal care is much higher for Hispanics than African Americans (although still lower than whites), but far more births (46.5%) are to mothers with less than a 12th grade education. MFH also reports that Hispanic ethnicity is frequently under-reported on death certificates in Missouri and nationally, creating a challenge to accurately collecting data on causes of death among the population.
The other MFH Health Equity Series reports examine health disparities among older adults and the LGBT population, and the most recent report focuses on food insecurity. By producing and regularly updating these reports, MFH hopes to expand the understanding of health disparities and to provide a basis for programs seeking to reduce them in Missouri.