US Government: We Need to End Health Disparities for Minorities and the Poor

The Department of Health and Human Services has created a website called Health Reform.gov that makes the case for change in our health care system. And I have to say: for a government-produced website, it is very well done. The layout and graphics are polished and professional, and it has a lot of interesting content.

The site includes a very good discussion of racial disparities in health care, on a page titled Health Disparities: A Case for Closing the Gap. It includes these comments on rates of disease among various American ethnic groups:

Racial and ethnic minorities have high rates of debilitating disease such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, and AIDS. One of the most glaring disparities is apparent in the African American community, where 48% of adults suffer from a chronic disease compared to 39% of the general population.

Obesity

Obesity is debilitating and is often a catalyst to chronic disease. Seven out of 10 African Americans ages 18 to 64 are obese or overweight, and African Americans are 15% more likely to suffer from obesity than Whites.

Cancer

African Americans are more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial or ethnic group.

African American men are 50% more likely than Whites to have prostate cancer and are more likely than any other racial group to suffer from colorectal cancer. Hispanic and Vietnamese women have disproportionate rates of cervical cancer, which they contract at twice the rate of White women.

Diabetes

Fifteen percent of African Americans, 14% of Hispanics, and 18% of American Indians suffer from adult onset diabetes. American Indians suffer from diabetes at more than twice the rate of the White population, which develops the disease at a rate of only 8%.

HIV/AIDS

HIV bears witness to the most extreme disparity in chronic disease. African Americans experience new HIV infections at seven times the rate of Whites, and Hispanics experience new HIV infections at two and a half times the rate of Whites.

There’s more at the site, and it makes for vital reading. Highly recommended.

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