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Health Equity in New Mexico
Con Alma’s Roadmap
1. Improved conditions and policies that address Social Determinants of Health and advance health equity, especially among racially and ethnically diverse and underserved populations, can significantly improve health in New Mexico.
The correlation between poverty, educational attainment and good health is evident when comparing health outcomes for NM’s children and others in the United States. NM ranks 48 and 49 respectively in teen death and teen birth rates.
• Racial and ethnic minorities suffer higher rates of mortality and illness compared with other Americans and receive a lower quality of healthcare.
• New Mexico has the second-highest poverty rate in the nation.
• The number of households receiving food stamps has almost doubled during the recession, from 6 to 11 percent.
• Children ages 0–5 are more likely to die: NM experienced a 20-percent increase in youth death rates since 2000.
2. Access to quality and affordable health-care services continues to be a barrier to good health, especially in rural NM, communities of color and underserved populations (e.g. elderly, immigrants, border communities and veterans).
• New Mexico has the second highest rate of uninsured in the nation (21.6 percent).
• Hispanic and American Indian adults were over twice as likely to be without health insurance coverage as whites.
• Native Americans lack a consistent health benefits package.
• The health workforce is neither diverse nor culturally competent. Minorities make up 59 percent of the population, but only 11 percent of the nursing workforce.
• Thirty-two of the state’s 33 counties are defined as Health Professional Shortage areas.
• Substance abuse/dependence and/or mental disorders affect more than half a million people in NM: 24.3 percent will need help from the publicly funded care system.
• Returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to increase the number of veterans in NM. Veterans, especially in rural areas, lack access to essential healthcare and behavioral services.
3. Prevention, nutrition, health promotion and holistic health are critical to improving health in NM.
• Nationally, there has been a shift in the conversation about healthcare in the last decade to focus on prevention, access and alleviating equity boundaries.
• The percentage of obesity among the state’s population doubled from 1990–2009. Obesity can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.
• Preventative oral health is limited, especially in rural areas, which can result in impaired general health, particularly impacting the mortality rate due to heart disease at younger ages.
• Healthcare reform provides opportunities to implement prevention and wellness programs.
4. Our rapidly changing environment, including demographic shifts, will have major implications in health for the people and communities of NM.
• People of color in NM comprise 58.7 percent of the population in the 2010 Census and fare far worse than their white counterparts across a range of health indicators.
• The Hispanic population in NM increased by 25 percent, compared to a 13 percent increase in total population.
• New Mexico residents 18 and under account for almost one in five of the population (18 percent in 2010), and the Hispanic population under 18 years of age was 58 percent, the largest in the US.
• The largest percent increase from 2000 to 2010 was among those 60 to 64 years, at 5.8 percent. By 2030, the state will rank fourth in the nation in percentage of population age 65 and older; currently NM is 39th.
• Almost half of NM’s grandparents provide a home for their grandchildren.
• Minority child populations show the most dramatic shift: almost three in four children under five are African American (2 percent), Hispanic (59 percent) or Native American (12 percent).
About the author
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