Communities all over the world are affected by different health issues and diseases due to a number of factors, including community and family stressors, prevailing socioeconomic factors, and existing community resources. These factors are known to lead to health inequalities that directly impact the lives of community members in terms of disease prevalence and incidence (Lang & Bird, 2015). The present paper not only identifies the prevalent health issues affecting my community of practice but also compares and contrasts how these issues affect the Latino and African American populations within the community with the view to suggesting actionable changes to meet their specific needs.
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Some of the most prevalent diseases that affect the community include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CAD), as well as HIV/AIDS. Most of these diseases are caused by poor socioeconomic status within the community and lack of public facilities to undertake physical exercises. Available literature shows that poor socioeconomic status is associated with lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes, as many people lack the means to sustain a healthy lifestyle that allows them constant intake of fruits and vegetables (Feathers et al., 2005).
Comparison between Two Populations
- Both African American and Latino populations have high incidences of obesity and diabetes, possibly due to lifestyle-related factors such as lack of physical exercise and minimal consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- Both African American and Latino populations have high incidences of cardiovascular disease due to sedentary lifestyles.
- African Americans are affected more by HIV/AIDS than Hispanics due to high-risk behavior, minimal adherence to medication, and unwillingness to seek help.
- African Americans are affected more by cardiovascular disease than the Latino population as they are heavy smokers compared to the latter.
- Hispanics have a higher incidence of obesity than African Americans and are more likely to die of the disease than the latter due to their sedentary lifestyles and family composition (their extended family composition makes them consume more).
Based on the above information, it is possible to refine or change practice so that the health needs and requirements of each population are adequately met. First, it is evident that both populations need to be facilitated with community resources such as gyms and training grounds so that they can be able to address the high rates of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. It may also be prudent to link them to community support systems that will teach them how to consume healthy diets and avoid sedentary lifestyles. A support system can be established for African Americans to help them deal with the life stressors that make them develop high-risk behavior and smoke heavily, as these factors have been shown to cause high levels of HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular disease in this group of the population. Additionally, advocacy groups could be used on African Americans to strengthen medication adherence and encourage them to seek help so that they are facilitated to deal with the HIV/AIDS scourge. Lastly, since Hispanics are deeply religious, church leaders could be used to instill in them the values of living a healthy life and of discarding some values that lead to obesity. For example, they could be educated on the importance of letting people make individual choices when it comes to diet.
This paper has identified the prevalent health issues affecting my community of practice, compared and contrasted how these issues affect the selected populations, and recommended actionable changes aimed at meeting the specific needs of these populations. Drawing from this discussion, it can be concluded that education, advocacy, and use of support groups could be used to solve the health needs affecting the Latino and African American populations within my community of practice.
Feathers, J.T., Kieffer, E.C., Palmisano, G., Anderson, M., Simco, B., Janz, N.,…James, S.A. (2005). Racial and ethnic approaches to community health (REACH) Detroit partnership: Improving diabetes-related outcomes among African American and Latino adults. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 1552-1560. Web.
Lang, M.E., & Bird, C.E. (2015). Understanding and addressing the common roots of racial health disparities: The case of cardiovascular disease & HIV/AIDS in African Americans. Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, 25, 109-138. Web.