New Report Focused on Michigan Adults of Arab Descent Aims to Reduce Health Disparities

Contact: Jennifer Smith 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: June 15, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is home to one of the largest Arab American populations nationwide. As part of the continued focus on reducing health disparities and improving the availability of data for racial and ethnic minorities, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) supported a stand-alone, Arab Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (ABRFS)  in 2013 among Arab and Chaldean populations in Michigan.

The full report, “Health Risk Behaviors among Arab Adults within the State of Michigan, 2013” presents the results of the survey. Data from the 2013 survey provides important information needed to help develop effective and culturally appropriate programs and services for Michigan residents of Arab descent. The 2013 ABRFS is the first state-wide survey to focus on adults of Arab descent in Michigan and provide state-specific, population-based estimates for various health behaviors, medical conditions, and preventive health care practices.

The 2013 report shows that for some of the health indicators, residents of Arab descent faced more challenges than other adults in Michigan. These challenges include no health care coverage for those 18 to 64 years of age, lack of health care access due to cost, worrying about having enough money to pay rent/mortgage, and low levels of appropriate cancer screening. In 2013, 25.3 percent of Arab adults reported not seeing the doctor within the past 12 months due to cost, significantly higher than the 15.5 percent reported overall by Michigan adults.

For the majority of health indicators, adults of Arab descent had a similar experience compared to other adults in Michigan. Some of these included: obesity, cigarette smoking, routine health checkup in the past year, and reported diabetes and depression. For a few of the health indicators, adults of Arab descent had a better experience than all other adults in Michigan, including: any alcohol consumption, ever being told to have high blood pressure, and ever being told they have arthritis.

The survey was a collaborative effort with help from Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Saginaw Valley State University, and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS).

A summary report entitled “Health Status of Arab Adults in Michigan” was created to accompany the full report. Both of the reports are available online at: http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-2945_5104_5279_39424_39429-134736--,00.html.

To view other reports conducted by the MDHHS, visit www.michigan.gov/minorityhealth.

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