Health Assessment: Rio Grande Valley Community

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Community Description

The Rio Grande Valley region covers approximately 12,620 km2 of land, and it partly touches South Texas to the south and Tamaulipas, Mexico to the north. In 2015, the region had approximately 1.4 million people.

Its cities in the United States include Brownsville, Harlingen, Weslaco, Pharr, San Juan, Rio Grande City, McAllen, Edinburg, and Mission.

Its cities in Mexico include Matamoros, Rio Bravo, and Reynosa (Tsou et al., 2018).

The majority of the occupants of the region are African Americans and the Texas Valley’s Community.

The Whites (Hispanics) make the largest population. The common languages are English and Spanish because of pre-Spanish colonization. A significant number of people in the community interact by speaking Spanish.

The region is a floodplain, with Brownsville as a significant settlement area. The region has a representative in the United States senate.

Agribusiness’s in the area causes political wars on the United States and Mexico’s borders as a result of water scarcity.

As a result of language differences in the area, education has been a great challenge (Ryabov & Merino, 2017).

In 1968, the Bilingual Education Act was developed to ensure students from all linguistic backgrounds get a quality education. The act’s prime focus was to provide finance to schools to support bilingual programs that allowed students from Mexico to attend schools of the United States government. However, some areas are no longer practicing the act.

The education system is supported by the presence of many colleges and universities (Tsou et al., 2018).

The area generates revenue through agribusiness and tourism. The common crops grown include cotton, grapefruit, sorghum, maize, and sugarcane.

The warm climate of the area attracts many people from other states affected by winter. Its proximity to the Mexican Gulf makes the area prone to Hurricanes. The main challenge affecting the communities is inaccessibility to education and medical care and scarcity of water (Ryabov & Merino, 2017).

The United States government, in collaboration with the Mexican government, ought to establish strategies that ethnic language discrimination. All schools in the region must offer English and Spanish programs.

It is expected of the political leaders to advocate for their people’s health needs regardless of their nationality to reduce the number that does not get health services because they are uninsured or underinsured.

Food insecurity has remained the most significant social determinant of health in the Rio Grande Valley.

Grocery stores are located far away from the residence areas making the accessibility of healthy foods difficult.

The people in the area are interested in seeing a united region that is free from discrimination (Ryabov & Merino, 2017). All stakeholders are aimed at creating an environment that has plenty of water and food.

Community Assessment

Community assessment is critical in the development of a nursing diagnosis (McMurray & Clendon, 2015).

Several Christian denominations exist in the area, and the majority of the people are Catholics.

Most people believe in traditional medicine, a factor that determines their health seeking behavior.

There is a high risk of the development of complications of diseases from the herbs they use. Some people believe that mental disorders are caused by witchcraft.

Mentally unstable patients are discriminated. Since the majority of individuals practice agribusiness, finance is not a problem. However, poverty is common in some families.

The most prevalent health conditions in the area are obesity, hypertension, and diabetes which caused the significant number of deaths in the region. Covid 19 pandemic greatly affected the area due to the negligence of the measures to combat the disease caused by a virus.

According to the World Health Organization statistics, hypertension affects approximately 1.13 people worldwide (World Health Organization, 2016).

Rio Grande Valley being at the border, many individuals are not documented hence uninsured. As a result, their health-seeking behavior is significantly reduced.

Limited healthcare professionals in the area make it difficult to achieve healthcare goals.

Water scarcity in the region is considered the cause of food insecurity. Studies indicate that majority of the population has shifted to the consumption of junk food that is harmful to health (DeBruyne, Pinna, & Whitney, 2015).

Most male adults consume alcohol, and some smoke.

The communities are at a high risk of developing obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions. High cases of obesity imply poor health behaviors, such as a sedentary lifestyle (Somohano-Mendiola et al., 2019).

In collaboration with food relief organizations, the government is vital to ensure the nutritional needs of all people.

Consumption of natural foods such as fruits should be encouraged to increase people’s health outcomes.

Environmental pollution from the use of pesticides is common in the area.

There are limited recreational and fitness programs in the community. Overworking is common in the region; thus, many individuals are at risk of developing mental health issues due to inadequate rest and sleep.

Community awareness of healthy behaviors helps in the reduction of preventable conditions such as obesity (Geaney et al., 2015).

The language barrier makes social interactions difficult, and many healthcare providers fail in providing the proper care (McMurray & Clendon, 2015). Community programs need to focus on making Spanish or English a common language in the region.

Homelessness is another factor that is negatively influencing the quality of life of a family.

Homeless individuals lack access to healthy foods and quality healthcare. Studies suggest that significant number of homeless people are prone to drug and substance abuse (Morton et al., 2018).

Increased tensions at the border because of struggle for the scarce water hinder unity and development activities in the area.

Food insecurity, water scarcity, and high tensions in the area have been identified as the leading stressors (Tsou et al., 2018).

The overwhelmed healthcare facilities with inadequate staff and the reduced health-seeking behavior of the communities hinder stress management.

Inaccessibility of maternal health services and healthy foods indirectly affect the health outcomes of children (Hilfinger Messias et al., 2017).

Political and community leaders need to advocate for prioritizing healthcare and change of policies to ensure a maximum number of people are insured.

Health PromotionThe quality of life is anchored on its ability to prevent illness and seek health when needed. Health promotion activities aim to increase community awareness about their health needs, and early interventions are affected.

The conditions in the community can be remedied through social support and behavior change.

Excessive consumption of unhealthy foods such as fat and sugary foods increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions such as hypertension (Edelman et al., 2017).

Nutrition and diet are the main challenges in the region. The health promotion should focus on educating the communities on nutrition and healthy lifestyles such as exercising with consideration of the language barriers among the target population.

Nutrition education focuses on the food pyramid that promotes health.

The Rio Grande Valley community needs to change their health-seeking behavior by modifying some of their cultural practices that are harmful to health, such as the preference of herbal drugs to modern medicine.

Interview Summary

The questions used in the interview were designed to comprehensively gather the information concerning the general state of health of the Rio Grande Valley region.

The prevalent identified conditions included hypertension, diabetes type II with DKA, hyperlipidemia, chronic renal failure, coronary artery disease and Covid 19.

Most of the conditions are associated with dietary intakes and sedentary lifestyles.

Many individuals depend on local health centers except for in emergent complications which require care at higher levels. However, the majority of undocumented individuals are not insured. Most healthcare facilities in region are understaffed with healthcare providers.

Despite the high number of uninsured and underinsured individuals, the delivery of healthcare services is non-discriminative.

The uninsured population is at a higher risk of mortality and morbidity because they cannot access some healthcare services.

The health system in the region has been overwhelmed by Covid 19. Despite community advocacy groups that support the health system, strict adherence to measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge.

Diagnosis and Recommendation

The region is at risk of increased deaths from chronic diseases since most people lack access to insurance services and cannot afford healthcare on their own.

The United States government should collaborate with the Mexican government to develop policies that make insurance services accessible and affordable to all ethnic groups irrespective of their nationality.

Allocation of extra budget to the ministry of health is key to addressing the staffing challenges.


The Rio Grande Community comprises people from different ethnic backgrounds. Some standard practices by the community members predispose them to conditions that can be remedied. Some of the common conditions identified in the area include obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

Nutrition and dietary intakes are the significant problems identified in the area and poor health-seeking behavior. Food insecurity remains the most prominent health challenge due to water scarcities.

Consumption of natural foods should be encouraged to promote the health outcomes of the people. Sarcastically, fruits are cultivated in the area, but their consumption is lower than chunky food, the reason being, the farms are far from the residential areas.

Beliefs in herbal medicine, witchcraft, and high uninsured and underinsured people are responsible for the poor health-seeking behavior. The nursing code of ethics insists on respecting different such approached. However, harmful practices should be discouraged (World Health Organization, 2016). There are many cases and deaths from Covid 19 in the region despite measures being in place to reduce the pandemic. Health promotion is recommended to increase the community’s knowledge of their health needs, set a healthcare goal, and plan strategies critical in achieving it. The community’s risk ignites the need for community health promotion to conditions associated with their behaviors.


DeBruyne, L. K., Pinna, K., & Whitney, E. N. (2015). Nutrition and diet therapy. Nelson Education.

Edelman, C. L., Mandle, C. L., & Kudzma, E. C. (2017). Health promotion throughout the life span-e-book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Geaney, F., Fitzgerald, S., Harrington, J. M., Kelly, C., Greiner, B. A., & Perry, I. J. (2015). Nutrition knowledge, diet quality and hypertension in a working population. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 105-113.

Hilfinger Messias, D. K., Sharpe, P. A., del Castillo‐González, L., Treviño, L., & Parra‐Medina, D. (2017). Living in limbo: Latinas’ assessment of lower Rio Grande Valley Colonias communities. Public Health Nursing, 34(3), 267-275.

McMurray, A., & Clendon, J. (2015). Community health and wellness-e-book: Primary health care in practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Morton, M. H., Dworsky, A., Matjasko, J. L., Curry, S. R., Schlueter, D., Chávez, R., & Farrell, A. F. (2018). Prevalence and correlates of youth homelessness in the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health, 62(1), 14-21.

Ryabov, I., & Merino, S. (2017). Recent demographic change in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas: The importance of domestic migration. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 32(2), 211-231.

Somohano-Mendiola, N., Champion, J. D., & Vatcheva, K. (2019). Assessment of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Outcomes for Hispanic Women Living in the Rio Grande Valley. Hispanic Health Care International, 17(3), 111-117.

Tsou, P. Y., Agarwal, R., Tomaj, A., & Griffin, M. (2018). Assessing Health Status and Housing Quality of Families Living in Model Subdivisions (Colonias) of the Rio Grande Valley.

World Health Organization. (2016). World health statistics 2016: monitoring health for the SDGs sustainable development goals. World Health Organization.

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BusinessEssay. "Health Assessment: Rio Grande Valley Community." January 30, 2022.