A Comparison of the Different Health Status and Issues of the Native Americans

Last Updated: 31 May 2023
Pages: 5 Views: 156

American Indians are a specific minority group comprising Indian tribal members, who live in the United States. Alaska Natives include the Eskimo and Aleut populations. Furthermore, the term "Native Americans" refers to American Indians, Eskimos and Aleuts as one racial and ethnic group. The latter amounted to 2.2 million in 1994, and the number is growing rapidly. There are currently still 2.25 million of American Indians in the U.S. with different health issues (National Center for Health Statistics, 2016). This paper will compare and contrast the health status of this minority group to the national average. It will also consider cultural, economic, and political barriers to their health. Finally, the essay will describe the influence of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and education on the population.

Health disparities of the American Indian or Alaska Native population are grouped in terms of the live birth rate, health status of the American Indians, insurance coverage, health hazards, and the mortality rate. The statistics has revealed that there are 9.9 live births per thousand women aged between fifteen and forty-four years (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). Moreover, the health status of the group is that 13.2% of persons of all ages have fair or poor health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). It is higher than the national index of 10.3%. Furthermore, the percentage of the population engaged in health endangering activities, such as smoking, involves 23.1% of men and 18.7% of women above the age of 18 years (National Center for Health Statistics, 2016).

Moreover, 28.3% of persons above the age of 65 have no health insurance coverage. It is significantly higher than the national average, which stands at 10.4 %. The mortality rate is 17,052 deaths, out of which 382.5 cases correspond to 100,000 live births. It is low as compared to the national index of 2,596,993. The leading causes of deaths among Native Americans are heart diseases, malignant neoplasms, and unintentional injuries (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

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In comparison to the national average, life expectancy at birth for male and females is higher being 81.2 years and 76.4 years respectively (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). The infant mortality rate being 7.6 deaths per 1000 live births is higher than the national index (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). The most prominent causes of deaths among infants are congenital malfunctions, disorders related to short gestation, and maternal complications. Therefore, the health status of American Indians is lower than the one on the national scale.

Race and ethnicity influence American Indians in the sociopolitical, cultural, and economic spheres, determining their lifestyle and feeding habits. The culture of the population really affects their health status. There is a high mortality rate among group members due to several cultural aspects they retain (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). The reasons lie in their conservative nature and cultural aspects they retain. The American Indians consider pregnancy and birth as normal processes and do not opt to go to health care facilities because they think they are associated with illnesses and diseases. Furthermore, expectant women are forbidden to attend traditional healing ceremonies to avoid contact with diseases. Therefore, the infant mortality rate is high. A quick solution to this problem is to establish health care facilities, whereby pregnant women can be looked after to avoid contacting with unhealthy ones.

Another factor contributing to the health status of the American Indians is the socioeconomic situation. The incidence of tuberculosis is high among the population due to the following socioeconomic factors, such as overcrowding and poor nutrition. The latter are a result of poverty, which forces group members to reside in crowded houses making them vulnerable to diseases, such as tuberculosis. The treatment of illnesses is problematic due to poor nutrition.

Moreover, education plays a pertinent role in the welfare of the people. They all work collaboratively. The failure of one may lead to the collapse of the system. The lack of health knowledge and skills, particularly regarding the care for infants and children, is another factor contributing to high morbidity and mortality rates. Education gives an insight into the technical know-how of what to follow and what to restrain from. Access to education among the American Indians is improving. Moreover, with proper and increased efforts in educating the group, its representatives can be relieved the burden of health care. Education should touch on such subject areas as infant mortality, communicable disease control, management of infants at birth, nutrition, sanitation, and the significance of a health insurance package for all persons. Moreover, the issue of poor nutrition should also be addressed by educating communities. Native Americans should be taught that even though they are poor, alternatives should be sought to ensure that they acquire nutritious food.

Health promotion among the American Indians is facilitated by the Indian Health Service, which is an initiative aimed at improving the health status of the population through precautionary actions at local levels. It can be achieved primarily by educating them on nutrition, sanitation, communicable diseases, drug abuse control and the importance of insurance coverage for persons in the family (Bauman & Nutbeam, 2013). It will prevent the encroaching of diseases through an awareness program. Moreover, the legislation can also serve as another health prevention factor.

Since many accidents happen on the road, laws should ensure that motorists observe safety precautions, such as the use of seatbelts and helmets when they use automobile as forms of transportation. Nevertheless, immunization can also be another method. Infants should be immunized according to the schedule. Secondary prevention can be achieved by establishing clinics closer to the residence of this group, where Native Americans can easily access health care services at any given moment when they feel the need to do so. Tertiary prevention can be achieved by initiating chronic disease management programs for diabetes and heart diseases. Moreover, support groups should be initiated, whereby those infected with diseases are taught on strategies how to live well.

In conclusion, the American Indians experience health challenges caused by cultural issues, such as physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and drug abuse. There are various socioeconomic and political barriers to the health status of this minority, including poor nutrition, overcrowding, and their reluctance to go to hospitals (especially during pregnancy). The Indian Health Service deals with the promotion of health among this population through health enhancing efforts.


  1. Bauman, A., & Nutbeam, D. (2013). Evaluation in a nutshell: A practical guide to the evaluation of health promotion programs. Sydney: McGraw Hill. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, January 22).
  2. Health of American Indian or Alaska native population. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/american- indian-health.htm
  3. National Center for Health Statistics. (2016). Health, United States, 2015: With special feature on racial and ethnic http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf health disparities.

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A Comparison of the Different Health Status and Issues of the Native Americans. (2023, May 17). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-comparison-of-the-different-health-status-and-issues-of-the-native-americans/

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