Health Disparities Persist in U.S., Report
-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Differences in income,
gender and race influence Americans' likelihood of being healthy,
sick or dying prematurely, a federal government report released
While progress has been made toward having more Americans live
healthy lives, disparities persist, according to the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention.
For example, low-income people have five to 11 times fewer
healthy days per month than those with high incomes; men are nearly
four times more likely to commit suicide than women; birth rates
for Hispanic and black teens are much higher than for white teens,
and affluent people have higher rates of binge drinking.
The report, the first of a series, was released with the latest
issue of the CDC's
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Among the findings:
- In 2007, white men were two to three times more likely than
white women to die in motor vehicle crashes -- 21.5 vs. 8.8 per
100,000. The gender difference was similar in all racial/ethnic
- In 2007, men of all ages and races/ethnicities were about four
times more likely than women to die by suicide -- 18.4 vs. 4.8 per
- Rates of drug-induced deaths in 2007 were highest among whites
(15.1 per 100,000) and lowest among Asian/Pacific Islanders (2 per
- High blood pressure is much more common among blacks than
whites (42 percent vs. 29 percent), and rates of blood pressure
control are lowest among Mexican-Americans (31.8 percent) and
highest among whites (46.5 percent).
- People with lower incomes have higher rates of hospitalization.
Eliminating this income-related disparity would prevent about one
million hospitalizations and save $6.7 billion in health-care costs
each year, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research
- While rates of teen pregnancy and childbirth have been falling
or holding steady for all racial/ethnic minorities, disparities
persist. Birth rates for Hispanic teen girls (77.4 per 1,000
females) and black teen girls (62.9 per 1,000 females) are three
and 2.5 times higher, respectively, than for white teen girls (26.7
- In 2009, rates of binge drinking were: 18.5 percent for those
with annual incomes of $50,000 or more; 12.1 percent for those with
incomes of $15,000 or less; 17.4 percent for college graduates; and
12.5 percent for those with less than a high school education.
However, people who binge drink and have an annual income of
$15,000 or less binge drink more frequently (4.9 vs. 3.6 episodes)
and, when they do binge drink, drink more heavily (7.1 vs. 6.5
The findings also highlight the need for more consistent,
nationally representative data on disability status and sexual
orientation, according to officials.
"Better information about the health status of different groups
is essential to improve health," CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden
said in an agency news release. "This first of its kind analysis
and reporting of recent trends is designed to spur action and
accountability at the federal, tribal, state and local levels to
achieve health equity in this country."
The CDC has more about
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