It’s not uncommon, especially during Black History Month, to hear discussion of disparities in medicine and health care, particularly as they pertain to African Americans. It’s easy to read the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Health Disparities & Inequalities Report and know that a disparity exists, but what does that really mean?
From the CDC’s website, here are examples of health disparities:
- 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.
- African American adults aged 18-64 years had substantially larger percentages of uninsured populations compared to other racial and ethnic groups.
- During the 2009–10 influenza season, lower influenza vaccination coverage was observed among African American adults than among white adults.
- In 2009, the percentage of African American adults living in poverty was among the largest compared with other racial/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.
To help combat these alarming statistics, the CDC has an Office of Minority Health and Health Equity and works closely with state governments to help provide free or low-cost resources to residents who may need them.
Check back next week to learn more about one of Richmond’s helpful resources: the Center for High Blood Pressure.