Thursday, October 22, 2015

Utah Minorities Continue to Lag Behind in Health

(Salt Lake City, UT) – While Utah consistently ranks among the nation’s “healthiest states,” a new report released by the Utah Department of Health Office of Health Disparities (OHD) shows that major health concerns still exist among Utah’s rapidly growing minority communities. 

“Roughly one out of every five Utahns belong to an ethnic or racial minority group other than White. In fact, several cities in Salt Lake County are projected to be minority-majority communities within the next 20 years,” said Jake Fitisemanu, Outreach Coordinator with the OHD. “As the population diversifies, the data provided in our report can help policymakers, public health agencies, and health care institutions better plan for the needs of our minority community members.” 

While the data showed many health indicators have not improved significantly over time, several notable improvements were seen. For example, colon cancer screening is more common among Hispanics/Latinos aged 50 and older in 2015 than it was 15 years ago. Additionally, there has been an increase in mammograms among Asians and Blacks/African Americans as well as an increase in folic acid consumption among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders women. And all racial/ethnic groups saw a decrease in teen pregnancy.

The 2015 Health Status by Race and Ethnicity report is the third edition in a series spanning 15 years. Data in the reports cover approximately 70 health topics, ranging from cancer and chronic diseases to maternal health and preventive services. Data compared underrepresented communities to the state population overall, and, where feasible, to previous editions of the report. Not all of the topics from the 2005 report were included in the 2010 or 2015 reports, and some indicators were measured with different methodologies; however, the reports can help identify general community health trends.

The full report is available at  

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Media Contact:
Jake Fitisemanu
Office of Health Disparities