CDC report highlights glaring health inequities in United States

Poor housing conditions, like here in New Orleans, one of the social causes of racial health inequities

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report documenting glaring racial health disparities in the United States. This report marks the first time the CDC has reported officially on such health disparities. The purpose of the report, said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, is “to shine a spotlight on the problem and some potential solutions.”

As noted before in this blog, working people, the poor and impoverished, rural populations, and those without insurance die younger and die more often than others. This unequal burden of disease and death falls even more harshly upon people of color. African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives suffer in disproportionately higher numbers from disease. The new CDC report is yet another verification of these horrific inequities.

A few highlights from the report:

  • Infant mortality among African Americans is three times that of whites
  • The suicide rate among Native Americans is 18 times that of whites
  • African Americans die from heart disease at a younger age than whites
  • African Americans die at a younger age from heart disease than whites
  • African Americans die more often & at younger age from stroke than whites
  • Hypertension is twice as prevalent among African Americans than whites
  • African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans have much higher rates of HIV/AIDS than whites

The report also discusses the glaring income inequalities in the United States. This and other social inequalities are the root cause of health inequities. Until we have social justice, health inequities will remain an intractable problem.

Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 10:15