Differences in ethnicity, gender and income impact how likely Americans are to be healthy, sick or die prematurely, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Low-income residents report five to 11 fewer healthy days per month than high-income residents, men are almost four times more likely than women to commit suicide, and adolescent birth rates for Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks are three and 2.5 times higher, respectively, than those of whites, the report says.
Titled "CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report--United States, 2011," the report focuses on health disparities by sex, race and ethnicity, income, education, disability status and other social characteristics. Eliminating health disparities is among the goals of Healthy People 2020, the nation's 10-year objectives for improving health.
Other findings include:
- Non-Hispanic white men are two to three times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than non-Hispanic white women. The gender difference was similar in other racial and ethnic groups.
- Drug-induced deaths were highest among non-Hispanic whites (15.1 per 100,000) and lowest among Asian/Pacific Islanders (2 per 100,000).
- Hypertension is most prevalent among non-Hispanic blacks, 42 percent versus 29 percent among whites, while levels of control are lowest for Mexican-Americans (31.8 percent versus 46.5 percent among non-Hispanic whites).
- Rates of preventable hospitalizations increase as incomes decrease. Eliminating these disparities would prevent 1 million hospitalizations and save $6.7 billion in health care costs each year, the study says.
Health care costs have a direct impact on health insurance premiums.