All people are vulnerable to diseases and health problems in different ways. However, the multiple cases demonstrate some general tendencies and propensities for people to acquire health problems, depending on their ethnic, racial, age, or geographic group. For example, the Native American reservation population often has limited access to medical services and is more likely to abuse alcohol than other ethnic groups (Matamonasa-Bennett, 2017). Understanding these nuances is essential for healthcare providers as it enables them to influence the sources of the problem and promote public health. For this reason, the purpose of this paper is to study the characteristics of the population of Miami-Dade County and propose measures for the health promotion of the community.
Demographics of Miami-Dade County Population
Studying the population’s characteristics should start with their demographic features since they help understand the most needed medical services. Miami-Dade County is the most populous in Florida and has 13.1% of the state’s population, or approximately 2.665 million inhabitants (Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, 2019). At the same time, the district is inhabited by representatives of different races such as American Indian / Alaskan Native, Asians, Pacific Islander / Hawaiian, and even several officially recognized tribes. However, 75% of the inhabitants are White, and almost 19% of the population are Black / African American ( Florida Department of Health, 2019).
In addition, 66% of residents are of Hispanic descent. These characteristics demonstrate that healthcare providers must have cultural competence and understand the aspects of care for patients with different cultural backgrounds. The percentage of the population that is considered vulnerable is relatively high since 23% of residents are children under 19 being 23% and 15% are people over 65 (Florida Department of Health, 2019). Thus, the data demonstrate that Miami-Dade County has many potential patients who require healthcare services.
However, socioeconomic indicators more accurately reflect problem areas, since most often, people with low income and education have limited access to health services and live in conditions that cause disease. Miami-Dade County residents have an intermediate level of education as almost 19% of the population over the age of 25 do not have a high school education, and only 30% have a bachelor’s degree (Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, 2020).
This feature demonstrates that a significant part of the population may not know basic health problems and their avoidance. In addition, almost 20% of the general population and 27% of children live below the federal poverty line (Florida Legislature Office, 2020; Florida Department of Health, 2019). Such indicators demonstrate that a significant part of Miami-Dade County residents cannot afford nutritious food and living conditions beneficial to health. However, 92% of the population under the age of 18 and over 65, and 76% of people between 18 and 64 have health insurance (Florida Legislature Office, 2020; Florida Department of Health, 2019). Consequently, most of the population has access to disease prevention and treatment measures.
In general, Miami-Dade County has good climatic conditions for health promotion as it has a warm climate, access to the ocean, and developed infrastructure. However, there are physical threats such as air pollution, severe housing problems, and a long commute. High numbers of the population need significant amounts of personal vehicles, which pollutes the air in cities and reduces people’s mobility (Florida Department of Health, 2019).
Limited physical activity leads to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, and air pollution can cause lung disease. This statement also supports the fact that heart disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease are the leading causes of death in Miami-Dade County (University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, 2019). At the same time, since part of the population has a low level of income, they cannot have personal vehicles, which hinders their access to medical services. In addition, Florida has the third-highest rate of homeless people, and the problem in Miami-Dade County is particularly noticeable due to the high population in general. This factor also significantly affects the access of people to medical services, although the district has centers of assistance and shelters.
Risk Factors of Morbidity and Mortality
The main risk factors of morbidity and mortality are not the environment but the population’s lifestyle and the difference between income levels. One of the main problems is overweight, which almost 40% of Miami-Dade County residents had in 2016. It is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even accidental injury. Obese and overweight is a consequence of low mobility, overeating, and unhealthy eating habits that are easy to avoid. Smoking is the second problem alongside air pollution as 12.3 percent of adults were smokers in 2016, and a third of teens tried some form of tobacco consumption in 2018 (Florida Department of Health, 2019). This risk factor leads to the development of chronic lung diseases, asthma, and cancer.
Alcohol consumption is also a cause of heart, vascular, and liver diseases, as well as accidents and unintentional injuries. Consequently, drinking is a risk factor for mortality and morbidity as 18% of Miami-Dade County residents in 2016 were engaged in heavy or binge drinking (Florida Department of Health, 2019). Another reason is income inequality because a large part of the population has limited opportunities for healthy eating and receiving preventive measures and treatment.
For this reason, many people seek medical help too late and die from cancer or chronic diseases. The impact of these risk factors is confirmed by the ranking of death causes in Miami-Dade County which includes heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, and unintentional injury (University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, 2019). Thus, these statistics demonstrate that the influence of most factors can be reduced through social and educational work with the population.
Access to Healthcare
The overall population of Miami-Dade County has a high rating for access to health services. As noted earlier, 76% to 92% of the people, depending on age, have health insurance covering essential medical services (Florida Legislature Office, 2020; Florida Department of Health, 2019). Moreover, the number of facilities is also sufficient to cover various health care needs of people. In total, Miami-Dade County has 3,326 medical institutions, including health care clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, centers for children and adolescents, as well as other facilities for different population groups and diseases (Florida Department of Health, 2019).
In addition, the number of institutions is growing, and only dentists, internal medicine physicians, and obstetricians/ gynecologists have a slight decline in number (Florida Department of Health, 2019). Consequently, the majority of the population gets access to health services and information resources. The exceptions are people without insurance, low incomes, homeless people, and tribal and rural area residents who have limited access to healthcare facilities due to the high cost of services or remoteness.
Health Promotion Activities
An analysis of the population of Miami-Dade County showed that the main problems of health promotion are related to people’s lifestyles and economic inequality.
Healthcare providers and organizations can promote an active lifestyle, smoking, and alcohol cessation by conducting lessons in schools, institutions, and organizing events. The county’s authorities can also help increase the price of alcohol and tobacco, which can reduce their consumption and develop infrastructure for walking, cycling, and sports. At the same time, mitigating inequality is a more complex problem that requires resources and efforts from the authorities and people.
However, health facilities can offer free screening, prevention, and treatment services to people who do not have access to them due to lack of insurance, high cost, and remoteness. In addition, healthcare organizations should conduct activities to increase the population’s awareness of the basic concepts and rules of health promotion. In this way, these health promotion activities contribute to the well-being of all Miami-Dade County residents.
Therefore, the Miami-Dade County population’s main public health problems are limited access to health resources due to economic inequality, inactive lifestyle, alcohol consumption, and smoking. These shortcomings lead to the fact that a significant part of the population acquires diseases or dies from health problems that could have been avoided. However, to implement prevention, the authorities need to provide access to health services and infrastructure for an active lifestyle. At the same time, healthcare organizations have to ensure education about basic health problems, their risk factors, prevention, and treatment. In this way, the people of Miami-Dade County will be able to reduce morbidity and mortality and improve their health conditions and well-being.
Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. (2019). 2019 Community health assessment Miami-Dade County, Florida. Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. Web.
Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research. (2020). . Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research. Web.
Matamonasa-Bennett, A. (2017). “The poison that ruined the nation”: Native American men—alcohol, identity, and traditional healing. American Journal of Men’s Health, 11(4), 1142–1154. Web.
University of Miami Hospital and Clinics. (2019). Community health needs assessment 2019-2021. Health. Web.