Continued advances in health care, medical technology and a longer average life span have benefited most Americans. However, the benefits haven’t come to all groups equally. Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States experience higher rates of disease, disability and premature death than non-minorities. These health gaps for socially disadvantaged populations are called health disparities. Poverty, unequal access to health care, poor environmental conditions, educational inequalities, individual behaviors and language barriers all contribute to the disparities.
This lesson explores the concept of health disparities for socially disadvantaged groups (e.g., youth of color and LGBT youth). Students are encouraged to examine the causes and impact of these disparities and to create possible solutions for overcoming them.
- Racial Disparities Jigsaw Mini Unit: Students investigate racial disparities and their underlying causes and identify steps that individuals and society can take to alleviate them.
- Wealth Matters: Classroom experiences that critically investigate the causes and meaning of poverty in our own nation offer students tools for change and new ways to interpret the world around them.
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey: The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System monitors priority health-risk behaviors and the prevalence of obesity and asthma among youth and young adults.
Middle Grades (6-8)
High School (9-12)
Standard 4: Gathers and uses information for research purposes
Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
Standard 29: Understands the struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil liberties.
Standard 31: Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States
Standard 9: Understands the importance of Americans sharing and supporting certain values, beliefs, and principles of American constitutional democracy
Standard 11: Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society
Standard 14: Understands issues concerning the disparity between ideals and reality in American political and social life
Standard 25: Understands issues regarding personal, political, and economic rights
Standard 2: Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health