Preventive care remains a low priority for some urban women, according to research

July 14, 2014, Rutgers University
Preventive care remains a low priority for some urban women, according to research
A Rutgers-Camden nursing student administers a shot to a women during a recent health fair.

Regular check-ups and screenings are among the best ways to stay healthy and catch potential health problems before they become serious, but preventive care rates are lower than they should be among Hispanic women in Camden, according to Rutgers University–Camden researchers.

A series of studies by two Rutgers–Camden nursing professors is shedding some light on the needs of Hispanic in urban, low income areas.

"Preventive care is not a priority for many of these women," says Bonnie Jerome-D'Emilia, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden. "They tend not to seek care unless they are sick. Their main concern is taking care of their family, not their own health. Additionally, a lack of or access to affordable care puts them at risk for delays in receiving their own health care."

Jerome-D'Emilia and two colleagues—Patricia Suplee, an assistant professor of nursing at Rutgers–Camden and Marcia Gardner, an associate professor of nursing at Seton Hall University—conducted a community needs assessment surveying 66 Hispanic women at a church in the Cramer Hill section of Camden. According to the survey, 41 percent of the women said they were in fair to poor health and less than half reported having some sort of health insurance.

"A high percentage of women consider the emergency room to be their usual source of care, and this would explain the low rate of preventive care in this population," Jerome-D'Emilia says.

The results of the survey were reported in the article "Understanding Access to Care and Health Needs of Hispanic Women from an Urban Community," published in Hispanic Health Care International earlier this year.

Jerome-D'Emilia says that in addition to the lack of health insurance, inequities in access to health services for these women are related to language barriers, fear of discrimination, and lack of trust, all "significant deterrents to obtaining appropriate ."

According to the study, 65 percent of the women surveyed were considered overweight, which can lead to coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other health concerns.

In a follow-up study focusing on healthy eating habits among 48 Hispanic women, researchers Suplee and Jerome-D'Emilia, along with Sherry Burrell, a clinical assistant professor of nursing at Rutgers–Camden, found that 50 percent of the women received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, 61 percent did not always have enough money to purchase food during any given week, and 50 percent ate fast foot one or two times per week.

Suplee states, "91 percent of the women reported that they would like to try healthier foods, but are either afraid their family would not like the food or that they do not know how to choose them. We are now investigating strategies to help these women make more informed choices when selecting food for their families."

In yet another study, Jerome-D'Emilia and Suplee looked into mammogram screening, one of the most effective means of identifying breast cancer at an early stage. Hispanic women in low-income communities continue to have lower rates of screening when compared to white and African American women, the Rutgers–Camden scholars say.

In a survey of 152 Hispanic women living in Camden, Suplee says, "Locally the rates of screening are actually higher than what you might normally see in an urban community, but the rate of follow-up nationally for minority women is what is concerning. Many women are waiting too long to get treatment."

Research has shown that financial barriers and insurance status are major deterrents to mammogram screening for low income Hispanic women, but the presence of a New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection program site in Camden may ameliorate this problem. NJCEED provides cancer screening and services for low income uninsured or underinsured individuals.

The Rutgers–Camden nursing professors say health fairs held at local churches are also an effective method of bringing services and education to the community, and Rutgers–Camden students regularly participate in such fairs to help educate residents.

With full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, more of these women will likely be eligible for Medicaid, which can facilitate access to care. However, due to potential shortages of primary care providers, many of these women will continue to go without preventive services and wait times for appointments may actually increase in length rather than decrease, say Jerome-D'Emilia and Suplee.

Jerome-D'Emilia received bachelor's degrees from Brooklyn College and SUNY Downstate College of Nursing, her master's degree from Columbia University School of Public Health, and her doctoral degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Suplee earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University and her master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

Explore further: Health screening for low-income women under health care reform: Better or worse?

Related Stories

Health screening for low-income women under health care reform: Better or worse?

May 8, 2014
When Massachusetts enacted its own statewide health insurance reform in 2006, low-income women transitioned from receiving free, federally subsidized screening for breast and cervical cancer and cardiovascular disease risk ...

Women's cancer screenings down during great recession

March 27, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—American women were less likely to receive a mammogram or Pap smear during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 than they were five years earlier, according to a study by researchers at the University of Maryland ...

Women with diabetes less likely to have a mammogram

April 11, 2014
Women with diabetes are 14 per cent less likely to be screened for breast cancer compared to women without diabetes, according to a study by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women's ...

Researchers find majority of Latinas are unaware of their risk of diabetes

March 7, 2014
Approximately 5.5 million Latinas suffer from elevated fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and nearly 4 million of those women were never told by a healthcare provider they were at risk for diabetes, pre-diabetes, or were borderline ...

Rural primary care physicians offer insight into rural women's health care

February 5, 2014
Women living in rural communities are less likely than urban-dwelling women to receive sufficient mental health care, in large part due to limited access to services and societal stigma, according to medicine and public health ...

New ways to promote fitness for urban girls proposed by nursing professor

December 19, 2013
Most people know that one of the keys to reducing or preventing health problems is to get more exercise, but determining how to best integrate physical activity into their daily lives—and having access to exercise programs—remains ...

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.