Kansas Conference Examines Role of Social Elements in Health Disparities
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment's fourth annual Health Disparities Conference took place Monday and Tuesday, focusing on how health status can be shaped by environment, education, income and other social factors, the Wichita Eagle reports. Sharon Goolsby, director of the health department's Center for Health Disparities, said, "All policy is health policy. If we don't address those determinants, we'll never achieve equitable health status."
On Tuesday during a speech at the conference, Rear Adm. John Babb, regional health administrator for HHS, said, "When you think of all the things that can negatively affect health, a lot of problems are completely outside our control, but there are decisions made by city, county, state and federal lawmakers." For example, zoning codes dictate how many fast-food restaurants can be in a particular neighborhood (Woods, Wichita Eagle, 4/8).
Babb also suggested that changes in personal habits -- eating more fruits and vegetables, managing chronic diseases and compiling family health histories -- can help reduce disparities among various groups (Green, Kansas Health Institute News Service, 4/7).