The current supplement of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (January 14, 2011, vol. 60/Supplement/Pg 1-116)) discusses the most recent CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report. Topics include education and income, inadequate and unhealthy housing, health insurance coverage, deaths from coronary artery disease and stroke, diabetes, and infant deaths. The CDC defines health disparities as “differences in health outcomes between groups that reflect social inequalities. “ Among the findings of the report are:
- Lower income residents report fewer average healthy days; residents of states with larger inequalities in reported number of healthy days also report fewer healthy days on average.
- Large disparities in infant mortality rates persist.
- Men are much more likely to die from coronary heart disease, and black men and women are much more likely to die of heart disease and stroke than their white counterparts.
- Rates of preventable hospitalizations increase as income decreases.
- Rates of drug-induced deaths increased between 2003 and 2007 among men and women of all race/ethnicities, with the exception of Hispanics, and rates are highest among non-Hispanic whites.
- Hypertension is most prevalent among non-Hispanic blacks, while levels of control are lowest for Mexican Americans.
“Since 1946, the CDC has monitored and responded to challenges in the nation’s health, with particular focus on reducing gaps between the least and most vulnerable U.S. residents in illness, injury, risk behaviors, use of preventive health services, exposure to environmental hazards, and premature death.”