CDC Report Highlights Important Health Disparities

Outlines disparities by sex, race/ethnicity, income, and other social characteristics

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Among Americans, disparities in income, race and ethnicity, gender, and other social attributes have an impact on whether an individual is healthy or ill or will die prematurely, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released as a supplement to the Jan. 14 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The new report, which serves as the first in a series of consolidated assessments, outlines health disparities by sex, race and ethnicity, income, education, disability status, and other social characteristics. According to the report, in 2007, low-income individuals reported five to 11 fewer healthy days per month than high-income individuals. In addition, men of all ages and races were more likely to commit suicide as compared with females (18.4 per 100,000 versus 4.8 per 100,000).

The data also revealed that 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 addition, the prevalence of binge drinking appeared to be higher among individuals with higher incomes as compared to those with lower income status as well as among those with higher education as compared to those with less than a high school education.

"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," CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement.

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