Vulnerable Population and Self-Awareness Paper
A vulnerable population is a group of people who are likely to have some health issues, have no access or very limited access to health care to solve these issues and tend to have worse outcomes and shorter life expectancy due to the poor health conditions (Maurer & Smith, 2012, p.528). Health People 2020 (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, n.d.) has identified few groups that are more vulnerable to the health-related problems. On the one hand, these are the people with low income, the homeless, the disabled, individuals with serous mental issues, very young and very old citizens are all at a greater health risk (Maurer & Smith, 2012, p.528). On the other hand, not all people that are at a risk of developing health problems would belong to the vulnerable population.
To be considered vulnerable, an individual or group of individuals should have some additional factors, which locate them at a greater risk of having some health issues, comparing to other at-risk persons. For example, middle-aged men with hypertension, obesity and inactive lifestyle are at a risk of cardiac issues. If the man is poor and without the health insurance, he is more likely to be considered as a part of vulnerable population, as compared to the man with health insurance and proper income.
Description of the Population
Hispanic or Latino population is a group of people, who have Cuban, South/Central American, Mexican, Puerto Rican or some other Spanish origins. People who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino can belong to any race. Hispanic origin is considered as a nationality group, heritage or place of birth of the citizen or his/her parents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), American population reaches up to 308.7 million people and 50.5 million of them have Hispanic or Latino origin, which means that the proportion of Hispanic population in the U.S. is 16%. Moreover, the amount of Hispanic population is expected to grow. Even from 2000 to 2010, the number of Hispanic people increased by 15.2 million (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). The report of U.S. Census Bureau (2010) demonstrates that the most significant growth is seen among Mexican people, in particular, their amount increased by 11.2 million from 2000 to 2010. Another important detail about this vulnerable group is that it is distributed unequally across the U.S. Thus, about three-quarters of the population reside in the West or South, and more than half of Hispanics are the inhabitants of only three states, such as Texas, Florida and California (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). As for cities, the Hispanic population is numerous in Los Angeles and New York.
Application of Vulnerable Population Conceptual Model (VPCM)
Vulnerable population conceptual model (VPCM) reflects the relationships between the amount of available resources, health-related risks and health status. Resource availability concept is related to such factors as income rate, employment, education, living conditions, and the level of access to health care and environmental influences. Related risks include lifestyle, health promotion, stress levels, crime or genetic factors. Health status is presented with the help of mortality and morbidity statistics.
The Hispanic population has worse educational level than non-Hispanics, which has the negative impact on their income rates and access to quality health care. Thus, only 14.5% of Hispanics have Bachelors degree or higher, whereas the proportion of non-Hispanics with such level of education reaches up to 33.6% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Besides, Hispanics have two times higher risks for poverty than white Americans, particularly 25.3% of Hispanic people live below the poverty rate (Maurer & Smith, 2012, p.531). This fact reduces the access of Hispanic population to quality health care because they have fewer opportunities for getting a health insurance. Hispanic population also differs from non-Hispanics by the jobs they do.
In particular, 19.6% of Hispanic people have management, professional or related jobs, whereas the proportion of non-Hispanics having these jobs reaches up to 41% (United States Census Bureau, 2010). At the same time, Hispanic population more often have service, farming, fishing, production and transportation occupations. Hispanic people have more family households than non-Hispanics do. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), 77.6% of Hispanic households are of family type, whereas the proportion of non-Hispanic family households is 64.9%. Besides, this report reveals the fact that Hispanic population has higher rate of uninsured individuals (30.1% among Hispanic group, comparing to only 12.8% among non-Hispanic group).
The list of related risks includes low physical activity, unhealthy diet, and exposure to stressful situations. As a result, Hispanics are at greater risk of developing nutritionally related diseases, such as obesity and anemia (Maurer & Smith, 2012, p.532). The main factors causing stress among Hispanic people are poor living conditions and unstable incomes. Besides, Hispanic population is at higher risk of abuses, crimes and violence. Thus, the rate of illicit drug abuse among Latino people aged over 12 was about 8% in 2010 and still continues to grow (Alicea-Santana & Cruz, 2013). Unlike non-Hispanic groups, Hispanics avoid reporting about cases of victimization (Miller & Lopez, 2015, p.1593). This is particularly common for Cubans and Chicanos. Besides, Hispanics are at greater risk of developing diabetes and hypertension.
The mortality rate among Hispanics is 24% lower than for non-Hispanic white people (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). Hispanic people are approximately 50% more likely to die due to obesity or liver cancer than white Americans. Overall, the statistics of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015) demonstrates than Latino residents normally die because of cancer and heart diseases. Other common causes of deaths are injuries, strokes, diabetes and liver diseases.
In conclusion, Hispanic population has lower income levels and higher uninsured rate, which creates various barriers for accessing quality health care and makes the group vulnerable. However, Hispanic people have lower mortality rates than white people, which could be explained by some genetic and cultural factors. The common issue of Hispanic people is diabetes, which could occur due to improper diet and low physical activity of this group. Besides, improper lifestyle causes frequent cases of obesity among Hispanic population.
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