(Headline USA)The Health and Human Services claimed in a report released this week that “racism” increases the risk of Alzheimer’s among minority communities.
The agency’s “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease” said black, Hispanic and low-income populations are more likely to experience health-related risks that contribute to Alzheimer’s, and blamed this disparity on “structural inequities” that resulted from racism. These inequities include “underinvestment in education systems, less walkable communities, decreased access to nutritious food, barriers to healthcare access and low quality of care in their communities,” the report said.
“These disparities in the prevalence of risk factors – which are grounded in generations of structural racism and inequality in health care – contribute to disparities in the incidence of AD/ADRD that are further amplified by disparities in AD/ADRD diagnosis, treatment, and access to care and resources,” the report said.
“It is therefore of critical importance that research, interventions, and infrastructure to address modifiable risk factors for AD/ADRD are culturally responsive and grounded in improving equity by addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH).”
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One way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, the HHS continued, is by focusing on “cultural competence and equity.”
“This requires that addressing SDOH [social determinants of health], entrenched systemic racism, and other forms of discrimination be prioritized, rather than focusing solely on individual behaviors,” the report added.
“Accordingly, future efforts to reduce the burden of risk factors for AD/ADRD will focus on understanding not only what actions individuals can take to reduce their risks, but also what community and system-level investments are needed to facilitate risk reduction and support healthy aging.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, black people are twice as likely as white people to develop Alzheimer’s, and Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely than white people to develop it.
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