Public Health
10:00 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Poverty, Access Issues Blamed For Poor Health In Broward's Black Communities

Black residents of Broward County are much more likely than whites or Hispanics to experience infant mortality, obesity or HIV/AIDS, according to an alarming new report from the Urban League, and nobody should try to blame the results on poor lifestyle choices .

BABIES AT RISK: Black residents of Broward County experience higher rates of infant mortality than whites or Hispanics, according to a new Urban League health report.
Credit Kolonoj on thepeoplespoetrycorner.blogspot.com

According to the Urban League's Danielle Doss-Brown, it's unarguably the result of poverty and lack of access to insurance and health care. Complicating it is a shortage of sources of healthy food in many black communities.

The study -- first of its type and depth in 18 years -- was funded by Sunshine State Health Plans, a South Florida HMO. CEO Chris Paterson told the Sun Sentinel, "We need to use it as a call to action."

According to the Sun Sentinel report, blacks did poorly by almost every measurement in the study:

  • Fetal deaths and infant mortality rates are about three times higher among black infants than white or Hispanic babies.
  • Nearly three times as many black teens give birth each year as their white or Hispanic peers.
  • About 53.1 percent of black adults are considered obese, compared to 23.1 percent of whites and 23.5 percent of Hispanics.
  • Blacks are six times more likely to die from HIV/AIDS when compared to whites and Hispanics.
  • In 2011, about 40 percent of blacks and Hispanics lacked health insurance, compared to about 20 percent of whites.

The study found that blacks comprise 33 percent of the county's uninsured even though they make up only 26 percent of the population.

The  Urban League says the study's findings will become the backbone of an action plan to improve health, education, jobs and housing for African-Americans in Broward.

"For me," said Urban League CEO Germaine Smith-Baugh, "the report was reiteration and confirmation that a comprehensive, holistic approach is necessary."