WASHINGTON - Americans' differences in income, race/ethnicity, gender and other
social attributes make a difference in how likely they are to be
healthy, sick, or die prematurely, according to a report by the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention.
For instance, state-level estimates in 2007 indicate that low income
residents report five to 11 fewer healthy days per month than do high
income residents, the report says. It also says men are nearly four
times more likely than women to commit suicide, that adolescent birth
rates for Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks are three and 2.5 times
respectively those of whites, and that the prevalence of binge drinking
is higher in people with higher incomes.
The data are in the new "CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report
- United States, 2011". The report also underscores the need for more
consistent, nationally representative data on disability status and
"Better information about the health status of different groups is
essential to improve health. 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," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
The report, the first of a series of consolidated assessments,
highlights health disparities by sex, race and ethnicity, income,
education, disability status and other social characteristics.
Substantial progress in improving health for most U.S. residents has
been made in recent years, yet persistent disparities continue.
Released as a supplement to CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,
the report addresses disparities at the national level in health care
access, exposure to environmental hazards, mortality, morbidity,
behavioral risk factors, disability status and social determinants of
health - the conditions in which people are born, grow, live and work.
Findings from the report's 22 essays include:
* In 2007, non-Hispanic white men (21.5 per 100,000 population) were two
to three times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than were
non-Hispanic white women (8.8 per 100,000). The gender difference was
similar in other race/ethnic groups.
* In 2007, men (18.4 per 100,000) of all ages and races/ethnicities were
approximately four times more likely to die by suicide than females (4.8
* In 2007, rates of drug-induced deaths were highest among non-Hispanic
whites (15.1 per 100,000) and lowest among Asian/Pacific Islanders (2.0
* Hypertension is by far most prevalent among non-Hispanic blacks (42
percent vs. 29 percent among whites), while levels of control are lowest
for Mexican-Americans (31.8 percent versus 46.5 percent among
* Rates of preventable hospitalizations increase as incomes decrease.
Data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicate that
eliminating these disparities would prevent approximately 1 million
hospitalizations and save $6.7 billion in health care costs each year.
* Rates of adolescent pregnancy and childbirth have been falling or
holding steady for all racial/ethnic minorities in all age groups.
However, in 2008, disparities persist as birth rates for Hispanic
adolescents (77.4 per 1,000 females) and non-Hispanic black adolescents
(62.9 per 1,000 females) were three and 2.5 times those of whites (26.7
per 1,000 females), respectively.
* In 2009, the prevalence of binge drinking was higher in groups with
incomes of $50,000 or above (18.5 percent) compared to those with
incomes of $15,000 or less (12.1 percent); and in college graduates
(17.4 percent), compared to those with less than high school education
(12.5 percent). However, people who binge drink and have less than
$15,000 income binge drink more frequently (4.9 versus 3.6 episodes)
and, when they do binge drink, drink more heavily (7.1 versus 6.5
The report supports the Healthy People 2020 goals and the forthcoming
National Partnership for Action (NPA) to End Health Disparities. The
report also complements the upcoming AHRQ National Healthcare
Disparities Report and underscores the need to connect those working in
clinical care and public health, especially at the local level.
"CDC publishes this report today not only to address gaps in health
between populations in our country but also to begin to measure progress
in years to come in reducing these gaps and inequities going forward,"
said Leandris Liburd, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A., recently appointed director
of CDC's Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. Dr. Liburd will
provide leadership for the office and CDC's public health programs,
policies, surveillance and research efforts in achieving health equity.