Black, Latino children in Iowa have higher rate of health disparities, report shows

Ethnic groups also have higher rates of uninsured children

Overall, children in Iowa generally experience good health, but there are significant disparities in health status when it comes to race and ethnicity, according to a new report from the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Health and Child Health Specialty Clinics.

The report, which is based off the responses of 2,386 Iowa families, found that black and and Latino children were more likely to be lower income, have a lower overall health status, need medical care but be unable to get it, and have an unmet need for dental care, among other disparities.

These children are also less likely to live in a household with consistently adequate food for the family, live in a supportive neighborhood and be in a school that their parents perceived as safe.

When it came to rating the overall health status of the children, the study found that 92 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander and 91 percent of white children had an overall health status rating of excellent or very good compared with 76 percent of black and 69 percent of Hispanic or Latino children.

And although the state's overall rate of uninsured children is only about 2 percent, 10 percent of Latino children did not have insurance at the time of survey. This is compared with about 4 percent of Asian children, 3 percent of black children and 2 percent of white children.

Black and Latino children also had the highest participation in Medicaid and hawk-i, a program for low-income families who have uninsured children. Nearly two-thirds of black children and almost half of Latino children relied on public insurance programs while only 16 percent of white children and 15 percent of Asian children did.

The report found that disparities point to issues related directly to the health care system as well as the social determinants of health, including availability of resources to meet daily needs, exposure to crime, transportation options, and quality of schools.

Studies have indicated that these factors, combined with environmental factors and genetics, account for 90 percent of what most affects health status, while health care delivery and financing only account for 10 percent.

Other findings:

  • About 13 percent of children lived in a household where it was sometimes (11 percent) or often (2 percent) true that purchased food did not last and there was not enough money to buy more. Thirty-six percent of Latino parents and 35 percent of black parents reported their family sometimes or often purchased food that did not last and there was not enough money to buy more.
  • More than 9 out of 10 respondents, or 92 percent, said that they feel their children were usually or always safe in their neighborhood. Parents of white children (93 percent) were most likely to report that their children were safe in their neighborhood
  • The vast majority of parents, 95 percent, reported that they usually or always felt their children were safe at school. However, 82 percent of Latino parents and 89 percent of black parents reported that their children were safe in their school compared with 95 percent of white parents and 96 percent of Asian parents.

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