Why Look at Race and Ethnicity?
We are working to improve the health of all Oregonians. A number of different things affect our health, and some of us have better or worse health depending upon:
- Where we live (urban or rural, county, neighborhood)
- How safe we feel
- Our exposure to discrimination, harassment, and racism
- Where we go to school
- The type of work we do
- Social support, including friends and family
These “social determinants of health” explain why some people have better health, while for others, external factors in their lives make it difficult to stay healthy.
These results are used by Public Health Programs, districts, schools and communities for assessments, to facilitate discussion and engagement, and Drug-Free Communities Core Measures reporting. The results include items related to:
- School climate
- Sexual Behavior and Pregnancy Prevention
- Physical Activity
- Weight Status
- Chronic Conditions
- Injury Prevention and Personal Safety
- Substance Use (tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs)
- Attitudes towards substance use
Some Things to Consider
The Oregon Health Authority collects data and looks at differences in health by race and ethnicity. This demographic information is captured to comply with Oregon’s Race, Ethnicity, Language and Disability (REAL +D) standards. Results are reported by major groupings:
- White (non-Hispanic)
- Black or African American (non-Hispanic)
- American Indian or Alaska Native (non-Hispanic)
- Asian or Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic)
Reporting by race and ethnicity is complex. A few important things to keep in mind:
- Race and ethnic categories are ideas created by society and are not based on biology, anthropology or genetics
- These broad categories do not reflect the diversity in cultures and experiences within each group
- These groupings may mask important differences within the groups
Despite these limitations, this is work we want to get right. Looking at results by these broad groupings is a starting point in addressing health disparities, which is when health problems are experienced more by one group than another. The OHT survey is a work in progress, and we continue to refine the OHT survey to better understand our youth to make decisions based on data, not opinions.
The results presented here are weighted and are meant to represent 8th and 11th graders statewide. Weighted race and ethnicity results are not available by geographic area. Those who identified as non-Hispanic and multiple races were excluded from the results (1,199 8th graders and 814 11th graders).