The type of care given to the general population may not be as effective with urban American Indians and Alaska natives because the needs and underlying causes of health outcomes might be different for both groups, according to a new report. The Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute released findings of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual telephone survey of adults conducted by states and territories that is completed with help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings, covering 2001-05, showed nearly 30% of urban American Indians and Alaska natives did not have health insurance, compared with 18% of the general population. Also, nearly one-third of urban American Indians and Alaska natives were obese (with a body mass index greater than 30), compared with 20% of the general population. The report also said that while income differences played a role in explaining disparities, major differences still existed between American Indians and Alaska natives and non-American Indians and Alaska natives who were in similar income groups.
The income analysis showed some intriguing results, including apparent differences between AIAN and non-AIAN populations in how income is associated with reported health behaviors and outcomes, the 40-page reported concluded. Income played no role in rates of smoking, overweight, hypertension and diabetes among urban American Indians and Alaska natives, while it did for the rest of the population. -- by Jessica Zigmond
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