From The National Women's Health Information Center
Two overall measures of morbidity are commonly used to reflect one’s health status:
- The percent of women (and men) who are limited in their daily activities due to a chronic condition; and
- The percent of women (and men) who report fair or poor health status.
Limited activity is measured by asking people questions on their limitations in their ability to perform usual activities for their age group — such as limitations in daily living, or in instrumental activities of daily living, play, school, and work. People are considered limited if one of more of these activities is hindered because of their health.
These measures (as do mortality rates) continue to reflect the disparities between minority and White populations. For example, a higher proportion of African Americans (14.3 percent), in comparison to Whites (11.5 percent), reported some limitation in their activity as a result of chronic conditions in 2000. Almost twenty percent (19.2 percent) of African Americans reported that they needed help performing “instrumental” activities such as shopping, everyday household chores, and other routine needs, in contrast to 12.1 percent of Whites. For daily activities such as eating, bathing, and getting around the home, 10.2 percent of African Americans in comparison to 5.8 percent of Whites had limitations.
A higher proportion of minority populations report being in fair or poor health than do Whites. Based on self-assessments in 2000, 17.2 percent of American Indian/Alaska Natives reported fair or poor health, as did 14.6 percent of African Americans of non-Hispanic origin, and 7.4 percent of Asian Americans. (Among Whites of non-Hispanic origin, 8.2 percent reported fair or poor health status.)
A greater number of poor (those whose family income is below the poverty threshold) than non-poor families reported fair or poor health in 2000 (20.9 percent and 6.3 percent respectively).
Across ethnicities, poverty is associated with health: the lower the income level, the higher percentage of people who reported fair or poor health.
Among poor or near poor minority groups, 44.7 percent of African Americans and 35.6 percent of Hispanics reported only fair or poor health. (Among poor and near poor Whites of non-Hispanic origin, 34.8 percent reported fair or poor health.)