Why are there health disparities?

It is getting late and I want to post this soon.  I brought up race yesterday and implied (with the study I did) that is is not likely about biology when we think about the differences in the health of different communities.  Today, let’s look at some of the differences in health, just in our country.  To what might you attribute these?

The following is a cut and past from the Center for Disease Control

“Health Disparities – Examples

    • African American women and men 45-74 years of age in 2006 had the largest death rates from heart disease and stroke compared with the same age women and men of other racial and ethnic populations.
    • From 2005-2008, people with the largest prevalence of hypertension were 65 years and older, African American adults, U.S.-born adults, adults with less than a college education, and those with public health insurance (64 years and younger), diabetes, obesity, or a disability compared with their counterparts.
    • Among many sex-age groups, the prevalence of obesity from 2005-2008 was lower among White Americans than among African Americans or Mexican Americans. Among females aged 20-39 years, the prevalence of obesity was largest among African Americans.
    • Infants of African American women in 2006 had death rates twice as large as infants of White American women.
    • Adolescent and adult African Americans ages 15-59 years in 2007 had the largest death rates from homicide, as compared with other racial and ethnic populations of the same ages.
    • HIV infection rate among African Americans in 2008 was the largest rate compared with those of other racial and ethnic populations.

Mother and Child

  • Hispanic American and African American adults aged 18-64 years had substantially larger percentages of uninsured populations compared with Asian/Pacific Islander and White Americans.
  • Colorectal screening obtained in 2008 by African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives was lower than screening obtained by White Americans.
  • During the 2009–10 influenza season, lower influenza vaccination coverage was observed among African American and Hispanic American adults than among White adults.
  • In 2009, high school completion among African American adults was the second lowest (second to completion among Hispanic adults and similar to the completion among American Indian/Alaska Native adults).
  • In 2009, the percentage of African American adults living in poverty was among the largest compared with other racial/ethnic populations (similar to percentages among American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanic Americans).
  • In 2009, African American adults more often lived in inadequate and unhealthy housing than White adults. The percentage of African American adults living in inadequate housing was similar to percentages among American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic adults. These populations had the largest percentages of adults living in inadequate housing.”

1 thought on “Why are there health disparities?

  1. Wendy Rollins

    Sharon – these numbers are sobering and make believe even more strongly than before that the health care initiative is of the utmost importance. It seems to me that we are creating a caste system in this country that was founded on liberty for all. So sad.


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