American Indians in Wisconsin
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Throughout the United States, there are 562 federally recognized tribes;
more than 100 state recognized tribes; and many more tribes that are not
state or federally recognized. Government health and education assistance are
provided to federally recognized tribes through the Indian Health Service (IHS) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. IHS has
implemented a comprehensive health services system for about 1.9 million
American Indians and Alaska Natives. Most of those who get these services
live on reservations and rural communities in 36 states, predominately in the
western U.S. and Alaska.
Thirty-six percent of the IHS service area population live in urban areas.
Studies have shown that this population has a high prevalence of poor health and
limited health care options. About 600,000 have access to urban clinics.
Since 1972, the Indian Health Service has enacted a series of initiatives to
fund health related activities in off-reservation settings, making health
services more accessible. IHS funds thirty-four urban health organizations at
forty-one sites throughout the United States.
- During the years 2001-2005, the four leading causes of death among
American Indians in Wisconsin were heart disease, cancer, unintentional
injury, and diabetes.
- Heart disease and cancer each caused 20 percent of American Indian
deaths in Wisconsin.
- Causes of death with the largest disparities, where the American Indian
rate was at least twice the white rate, were diabetes (3.3 times the white
rate), unintentional injury (1.9 times the white rate), and homicide (3.9
times the white rate).
- American Indians in Wisconsin have higher rates of death from heart
disease, compared to the total Wisconsin population.
- In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate from heart disease was 228
deaths per 100,000 population among American Indians, compared to 202 per
100,000 in the total Wisconsin population.
- American Indian males had a cancer mortality rate of 256 per 100,000,
and American Indian females a rate of 186 per 100,000. These rates were
higher than the corresponding rates in the total Wisconsin
- In contrast to their higher cancer mortality rates, American Indians had
lower rates of cancer hospitalizations.
- In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate from stroke was 52 deaths
per 100,000 population among American Indians, compared to 53 per 100,000
in the total Wisconsin population.
- American Indians in Wisconsin have higher rates of death and
hospitalization from diabetes, compared to the total Wisconsin population.
In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate from diabetes was 70 deaths
per 100,000 population among American Indians, compared to 22 per 100,000
in the total Wisconsin population.
- An estimated 36 percent of American Indian adults in Wisconsin smoke
cigarettes, based on survey results for 2001-2005. This is significantly
higher than the percentage who reported smoking in the total adult
- For two measures, American Indian adults reported levels of alcohol use
similar to those reported by the total adult population of Wisconsin. For
example, the percentage of American Indians who reported heavy drinking
(8%) was identical to the percentage in the total population (8%).
- Binge drinking was reported by 33 percent of American Indians, compared
to 24 percent of the total population; however, this difference was not
- Forty-one percent of American Indian adults reported they were
physically inactive in terms of leisure-time activity. This was not
significantly different from the proportion reported by the total adult
- Sixty-five percent of American Indian adults in 2001-2005 were
overweight or obese, compared to 60 percent of the total population.
- Based on Wisconsin Family Health Survey results for 2001-2005, American
Indians were less likely than the total population to have health
insurance at any given point in time. Eighty-nine percent of American
Indians, compared with 93 percent of the total Wisconsin population, said
they had some form of health insurance at the time of the survey
- Eight percent of American Indians were uninsured for all of the past
year; this is double the percent uninsured all year in the total state
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Back to Minority Populations in Wisconsin
- Minority Health Report, 2001-2005
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please write to: Ruth DeWeese.
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Last Revised: May 18, 2012