Colorado Suffers From Huge Health Gap

In Colorado, a Latino baby is 63% more likely to die in the first year of life than a white baby.

The mortality rate for black babies is more than 3 times the rate of white babies. The mortality rate for white babies in Colorado is lower than the national average, and yet the mortality rates for Latino and black babies is higher than the national average.

Not only that, but while the mortality rates for white babies improves, the rates for minority babies worsens.

Black adults are more likely to suffer from asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, prostate cancer and obesity in Colorado. Latino adults are more likely to die from the flu or pneumonia.

Infant mortality – the tragic occurrence when a baby dies within its first year of life – is often use an indicator of a nation’s overall health. It’s also used to distinguish between developed and developing countries.

Not only does access to healthcare affect these differences, but many social determinants are in play. Poverty, education, the food one eats, whether one wears a seatbelt, exercise. The list covers many and most aspects of life. The biggest in play seems to be poverty, especially when combined with race or ethnicity. A study conducted by Boston Children’s Hospital found that black and Latino children reported significantly lower levels of physical activity, and were much less likely than white children to wear seat belts or bike helmets.

One way to improve life expectancy is to educate those who have a harder time gaining access to information, traditionally the poor. The Center for African American Health in Denver offers courses in diabetes management and screenings for various types of cancer. However, health is also determined by individual choices and there are those who refuse information when offered. Debates exist on the level of compulsion governments can induce with regards to personal health decisions. In general, the ideal is to strike a balance between being overly coercive and letting people die. So instead of outlawing cigarettes, for example, smoking in restaurants is outlawed.

The people of Colorado are currently trying to address these issues, many through non-profit and non-governmental organizations. Organizations like the Center for African American Health have been cropping up, to mild success.

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