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Sizable Health Disparities Evident in Every State Between Women of Different Racial and Ethnic Groups
Date:6/9/2009

en twice as high as white women. The percentage of American Indian and Alaska Native women in serious psychological distress was more than 1.5 times that of white women. They exhibited the highest rates of smoking and cardiovascular disease and had considerably higher rates of access problems, such as not having a recent checkup and not getting early prenatal care. One in three American Indian and Alaska Native women lived in poverty, and the median household income for such women was less than half that of white women.

At the same time, the report reveals tremendous variation among states within racial and ethnic groups. For example, among white women, the rate of diabetes was 7.5 times as high in West Virginia (6.0%) as in the District of Columbia (0.8%). Among women who are Asian American, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 10% in Ohio had late or no prenatal care compared to 34% in Utah. Forty-three percent of Hispanic women in Oklahoma had not had a mammogram in the past two years, compared to 14.5% in Massachusetts.

"We conducted this study in an effort to shed light on the many challenges and the variety of experiences women of color face across the nation," said the Foundation's Cara James, the study's lead author. "We hope that states can use this information as guidance in developing effective solutions to eliminating disparities."

Disparities In States Vary, As Do The Factors That Shape Them

Many forces contribute to the levels of disparities in the states. The report examined underlying factors such as poverty levels and high school graduation rates that are often beyond the control of state health officials. It also looked at some factors that officials do have a hand in shaping, such as the scope of states' Medicaid programs, which can influence how many people have health coverage in a state.

The report illustrates that t
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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