Many North Dakotans today are healthier and live longer than did those who lived several decades ago. Certain groups of people in North Dakota do not enjoy equal health or access to healthcare that makes good health possible. These health disparities in North Dakota are defined as inequalities in health status, utilization, or access due to structural, financial, personal, or cultural barriers. Population categories affected include, but are not limited to, those identified by age, gender, race or ethnicity, education or income, disability, geographic location, or sexual orientation. As long as there are segments of the population with poor health status, the health of our state, and our nation, as a whole will never be as good as it can be.
One in 12 North Dakota Children Is Uninsured
More than one in 12 children (about 14,000) in North Dakota is uninsured. The majority (94.1 percent) of uninsured children in North Dakota come from families where at least one parent works, and nearly three-quarters of uninsured children (72.3 percent) live in a home where at least one parent works full-time, year-round. Uninsured children tend to come from low-income, working families that are trying to make ends meet, but coming up short when it comes to health coverage. Their employer might not offer coverage, or the offer might be far too expensive for the family to afford. North Dakota has the least generous eligibility levels for children’s insurance coverage in the country. Read more in the report from the Families USA report, Left Behind: North Dakota’s Uninsured ChildrenCreating a Hunger Free North Dakota Study Provides Recommendations to Enhance Charitable Feeding Network
One in 12 North Dakotans is served by the North Dakota charitable feeding network each year – this at a time when donations of shelf-stable food are decreasing and demand for the emergency food is increasing. The North Dakota charitable feeding network is a statewide system of more than 130 nonprofit soup kitchens, shelter feeding programs and food pantries supplied in part with food by the Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo. In response to these findings, the Great Plains Food Bank is launching several new initiatives to better serve clients statewide in partnership with Community Action Programs and local groups. Learn more here: http://www.lssnd.org/news-detail.asp?NewsID=25
In North Dakota, the Healthy North Dakota Health Disparities Committee is a partnership of programs and organizations with facilities and resources to support populations experiencing disparities. Through collaboration, this group is working to document disparities and develop approaches to eliminate health disparities. Click here to view the Health Disparities Committee.
The Healthy People Initiative has been the Nation's prevention and health promotion agenda for the last two decades. One of the two overarching goals for Healthy People 2010 is to eliminate health disparities. Healthy People is firmly dedicated to the principle that — regardless of age, gender, race or ethnicity, income, education, geographic location, disability and sexual orientation — every person in every community across the nation deserves equal access to comprehensive, culturally competent, community-based health-care systems that are committed to serving the needs of the individual and promoting community health.
Healthy People recognizes that communities, states and national organizations will need to take a multidisciplinary approach to achieving health equity — an approach that involves improving health, education, housing, labor, justice, transportation, agriculture and the environment, and data collection. The greatest opportunities for reducing health disparities are in empowering individuals to make informed health-care decisions and in promoting communitywide safety, education and access to health care.
Read more about North Dakota’s Healthy People 2010 goals and progress.
More information about health disparities of minority groups may be found at the Office of Minority Health, Centers for Disease Control.