The Alaskan Native And Health Promotion

1353 words - 6 pages

The Alaskan Native and Health Promotion

The Alaskan Native and Health Promotion
In the United States in 2013 there were 11.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives nation wide representing approx. 2% of the population. The state with the highest population percentage of natives was Alaska, with 134,361 accounting for 14.3% of the population (United States Census Bureau. 2013). It is this group that is going to be focused on now in this paper because of the unique issues and barriers that are found in attempting health promotion within this minority. Many different problems arise when attempting change in the region ranging from education levels, large cultural differences, ...view middle of the document...

Alaskan Native drop out rates are double the national average if they are attempting education past the high school level. This explains why the most common reported household income was $10,000-$19,000 a year for an Alaskan Native with the national average being $50,000-$75,000 (Research Unit, Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics 2007).
Chronic Liver disease was the seventh leading cause of death with homicide the tenth for Alaskan Natives. Neither of these causes made the top ten listed on the nations statistics. The overall mortality rate of the Alaskan Native is 1.4 times that of the average with suicide topping the list between 2004-2007. That rate was 3.6 times the national suicide average with numbers of unintentional injury death rates at 2.4 times more, and the likelihood of dying by homicide at 2.5 times more. These statistics are still much better than ten or certainly twenty years ago when they were almost doubled. Death rates are also higher than the national average with cancer at 30%, cerebrovascular disease at 30%, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at 40% (Alaska Native Health Status Report. 2009). Chronic disease is now starting to show increases because the population is now living long enough to show it. A school teacher in 1947 from Barrow reported that out of thirty children ages five to six that started in his school only six lived to finish. In 1950 the life expectancy for an Alaskan Native was forty-six! The last time it was checked in 1980 it was sixty-seven (State of Alaska Epidemiology Bulletin 1991).
Other issues that present challenges are that Alaskan Natives have long ago started a culture of smoking grasses and chewing bark/ seal skin etc. When tobacco came along it was a simple and sweeping acceptance for all ages. Alaskan Natives that are current smokers at 41% are double that of the national average and three times more likely to be smokeless tobacco users. During pregnancy Alaskan Natives also are three times more likely to smoke and one and a half times more likely to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Post-neonatal mortality rates are 2.7 times the national average with infant mortality rates doubled. Sexually transmitted disease is also a real problem in Alaska with 89.4% of all reportable Native infectious disease cases being an STD. Of those chlamydia is 80% with Alaskan Native men 4 times more, and Alaskan Native women 7 times more likely to have the diagnosis. Alaskan native men are also 5.5 times greater and women 7.7 times greater to have gonorrhea (Alaska Native Health Status Report. 2009).
Health promotion prevention comes in three different levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary prevention focuses more on stopping the problem in the beginning through education. Catch the problem before it begins. Secondary is about changing unhealthy habits with an emphasis on diagnostic testing and screening for illnesses. Mammograms to identify early stages of breast cancer would be in this...

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