Health Disparities Research Paper
One of the goals of Healthy People 2020 is to reduce health disparities among populations.
Select one of the leading health indicators as identified by Healthy People 2020 and write a
research paper of 750-1,000 words on the health disparities related to that condition. For
the health indicator selected, the paper should include a discussion on the following:
- Definition of the problem
- Descriptive epidemiology (person, place, time)
- Etiology (causes, risk factors)
- What disparities do we know exist for this disease?
- Why do these disparities exist?
- What explanations have been offered or supported?
- What research questions have not been studied that may provide new, insightful
information regarding this health problem?
- Why is it an important public health problem?
- What are some social, political, or economic barriers in our current health care system
that impede disease prevention and health promotion for this health problem?
- How would you educate/disseminate information about this health problem to the
public? (target group, financial constraints)
- How could one of a health administrator/manager’s general policies or policies specific to
this health condition impact the health status of the target population?
You are required to use a minimum of four scholarly resources.
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide,
located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
Epidemiology of Stroke and Heart Diseases
Due to high increase in mortality rate in America and all over the world, a group of
Americans have formed an organization whose main objective is to ensure a healthy leaving by
the year 2020. The group, which is known as “Healthy People 2020”, highlights some of the
leading diseases that jeopardize people’s health and subject individuals to unnecessary deaths
(Alic, & Swain, 2013). A set of “Healthy People 2020” aims, known as leading health indicators,
is selected to converse high- priority health problems and serious action that should be taken to
conveniently address such diseases (Alic, & Swain, 2013). Some of the leading health indicators
identified by this group are heart diseases and stroke that have become the leading cause of death
in America and many other parts of the world, and which is extensively discussed in this paper.
Known as sudden loss of brain function and all disorders that affects the heart, Heart
diseases and stroke are the principal causes of death in America. They are the most widespread
in the country and costly diseases that subject the economy to serious challenges. Currently, the
country spends more than $ 500 billion to cater for heath expenditures and associated expenses.
Heart diseases and stroke risks increase with age (Lackland, 2014). In the year 2009, 33.95% of
people hospitalized for these diseases were relatively younger than 65 years old, and the rest
were more than 65 years of age (“Vital signs”, 2013). This suggests that these diseases occur on
older people than younger ones.
The risk of having a stroke varies with race and ethnicity. The probability of suffering a
first stroke is nearly twice as high for blacks than for whites, and blacks are more likely to die
following a stroke than whites. Report by CDC says that, the developed countries have high
number of the stroke and heart diseases than developing countries (Cited in Lackland, 2014).
The heart diseases, also known as coronary heart disease, can be caused by many factors,
commonly known as the risk factors. They include: hypertension, abnormal lipid levels, tobacco
use and smoking, physical inactivity , type II diabetes, poverty which leads to chronically stress
and social isolation, and diet with high saturated fats. Additionally, there are non-notifiable risks
that may subject one to heart diseases, which include growing older, the family history of
cardiovascular infections, gender, and ethnic origin. Men are of greater risk of these diseases
than pre-menopause females. However, past menopause, a woman’s risk is the same as that of
man (Lackland, 2014).
The burden of stroke and cardiovascular diseases disproportionately spread across the
American population. However, there are noteworthy disparities based on gender,
socioeconomic status, and race. Since 1984, the number of heart diseases’ deaths for women
have been more than that of men. African-American women are 36% more likely to die from
these diseases than non –Hispanic white females (Lackland, 2014). Additionally, deaths of heart
diseases vary with ethnicity. More than 30% African American men are more likely to die from
heart diseases than non-Hispanic white men (“Vital signs”, 2013). American-Mexican of the
Hispanic population suffer the greater percentage than Caucasians from obesity and overweight,
the leading heart diseases risk factors. Finally the disparity exists in socioeconomic status where
an individual who gets it hard to earn a dollar per day are more likely to suffer than the rich
Why do the disparities occur? Unequal right of entry to quality screening and health
services is one of the most important reasons. But, there are other significant factors, including
education, race, language, and living environments. Tied together with such kind of things, level
of income is also linked to the important risk factors, such as smoking, inactivity, and being
overweight (McCarthy, 2013). Clearly, the issue of these health disparities is complex and
cannot be solved overnight. However, the condition is far from hopeless. Awareness of this issue
is on the check, and the local communities have to take concrete steps to solve the problem.
This information of the heart diseases is important to the public as it creates strong
awareness of the disease. The local communities will be in a position to know what exactly
causes the diseases, its risk factors and the solution to be offered to reduce the number of people
dying as a result of the heart diseases. Additionally, it will help the local communities to observe
preventive measures that are recommended since prevention is better than cure.
Heart disease has not experienced any political barrier as all nations are on attempts for
its solution. However, this condition has got economical burden. In 2009, the United States spent
more than 36 billion to offer services that were meant to eliminate stroke and heart diseases in
the country (Alic, & Swain, 2013). This aspect can only be achieved by certain economically
stable countries that are able to produce such amount of money. This means that many
developing countries are likely to suffer from heart and stroke diseases. Again, some countries
that have not experienced this deadly diseases have not put so much interest in its solution, one
of the social factors that affects it prevention.
Giving the information about this fatal disease may be traumatizing to certain groups that
are at a high risk of infection or to the group that has it already. However, strategies such as
campaigns that involve promotion have worked well to create its awareness. The “Healthy
People 2020” has used a campaign criterion that was targeting people who were at risk.
Moreover, organizing seminars to create awareness is one of the best ways to educate people
about the disease. The most vulnerable people such as the high-risk group and financially
unstable people should be targeted in the campaigns with the main promise of helping them.
Prevention is better than cure is a health policy that educates target group to prevent the
disease since preventing the heart diseases is more expensive than treating them. This policy
helps the target group to know the risk factors, and by all means, try to avoid cases that may
predispose one to the infection.
From the discussion above, it can be concluded that stroke and heart diseases are among
the leading diseases that cause death in America. Therefore, it has been identified by “Healthy
People 2020” that their elimination within one decade will achieve the goal of leaving healthy by
- The risk of heart diseases include: hypertension, abnormal lipid level, smoking, diet,
alcohol, race, and gender. The burden of this condition has been associated with several
disparities such socio-economical problems, race, and gender. These disparities have been
caused by unequal entries to quality healthcare services. The information of the heart diseases
and stroke is important because it creates awareness to the local community. However, in the
process to its answer, it experiences barriers such heavy capital towards its solution. Finally, the
target group should observe the “prevention is better than cure policy” to avoid further infection
with stroke and heart diseases
Alic, M., & Swain, L. (2013). Healthy People 2020. Gale, Cengage Learning.
Lackland, D., Roccella, E., Deutsch, A., Fornage, M., George, M., Howard, G., & … Towfighi,
A. (2014). Factors influencing the decline in stroke mortality: a statement from the
American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke; A Journal Of
Cerebral Circulation, 45(1), 315-353.
McCarthy, M. (2013). One in four deaths from heart disease and stroke in the US is
preventable. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 347f5451.
Vital signs: avoidable deaths from heart disease, stroke, and hypertensive disease – United States,
2001-2010. (2013). MMWR. Morbidity And Mortality Weekly Report, 62(35), 721-727.