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American Indians in Wisconsin


Health Facts

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General1

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.

Health Facts2

  • 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).

         Chronic Disease 

  • 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 population. 
  • 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.

          Health Risk Factors 

  • 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 population (22%).
  • 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 statistically significant. 
  • 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 population (45%). 
  • Sixty-five percent of American Indian adults in 2001-2005 were overweight or obese, compared to 60 percent of the total population.

          Health Care 

  • 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 interview. 
  • 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 population (4%).

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Citations:

  1. http://raceandhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=52
  2. Minority Health Report, 2001-2005

Additional Information About  American Indians in Wisconsin:

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Last Revised: April 21, 2014