Efforts Address Health of Somali Women, American Indian Children, Increase HIV/AIDS Awareness Among Hispanics
- Burnsville, Minn.: Community workshops provided by the Dakota County Public Health Department and the not-for-profit group Storefront this year are focusing on the health of Somali women and girls in the community, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. According to Shannon Bailey, adolescent health coordinator for the county's public health department, many Somali immigrants have chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, as well as a high rate of hip and knee replacements because of excess body weight. Health officials attribute Somalis' health to changes in their lifestyle, such as walking less, since they moved to the U.S. In response, a local YMCA has begun offering a female-only aerobics class that caters to the religious needs of Muslim women. To date, about 14 residents, mainly Muslim Somali women, have joined the class (Miranda, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 7/30).
- Montana: Researchers from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Epidemiology Center and the University of Montana over the next five years will study the health of American Indian children living on reservations as part as an effort to increase disease prevention and awareness among the group, the Billings Gazette reports. Under the program, researchers beginning this school year will assess weight, height, body-mass index, family history of disease, pulse and blood pressure of children in kindergarten through high school on three reservations. Eventually, researchers will expand the study to all tribes. Researchers also will examine and track information on acanthosis, a skin disease that usually is found among those with diabetes, and look for signs of asthma and other conditions. Curtis Noonan, a researcher who works with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at the university, said the study will enable researchers to describe populations in terms of risk factors, identify new cases of certain conditions and determine which risk factors are common (Shay, Billings Gazette, 7/30).
- Stamford, Conn.: The Stamford Health Department, as part of an initiative to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among Hispanics, has begun teaching religious leaders how to provide information and spiritual counseling to their congregations, the Stamford Advocate reports. This phase of the project will provide Hispanic religious leaders with substance use and HIV/AIDS information and resources (Clark, Stamford Advocate, 7/30).