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Closing the Gap: Equity in Health Care

Updated on July 1, 2015

CDC Report on Health Disparities

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recently released a report about health disparities in the US.  The report reveals that differences in income, gender, race/ethnicity, education, disability status and other social attributes do make a difference in how likely we are to be healthy, sick or die prematurely.


This report was the first of its kind.  Its purpose was to identify disparities, and then identify interventions that can be made to close the gaps in disparity in order to achieve equity.  A need for more consistent data regarding disability and sexual orientation was identified from the report.  While significant progress has been made toward improving health for most Americans, disparities do continue.    


The report addresses disparities in health care access, exposure to environmental hazards, death rates, risk of disease, behavioral risk factors, disability status, and social determinants of health – the conditions, in which people are born, grow, live and work.  The purpose of the report is to address the gaps that do exist, and to set a baseline so future progress toward closing the gap can be measured. 


Some Findings

• Low income persons report 5 to 11 fewer healthy days per month than high income persons.

• Men are nearly 4 times more likely than women to commit suicide.

• Adolescent birth rates for Hispanics and blacks are 3 and 2.5 times those of whites, respectively.

• Men are more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than women.

• Rates of drug-induced deaths were highest among whites and lowest among Asian/Pacific Islanders.

• Hypertension is by far most prevalent among blacks (42%) than whites (29%).

• Levels of control of hypertension are lowest for Mexican Americans (31.8%) vs. 46.5% for whites.

• Rates of preventable hospitalizations increase as incomes decrease. (eliminating these disparities would prevent approximately 1 million hospitalizations and save $6.7 billion in health care costs each year.)

• Prevalence of binge drinking is higher in people with higher incomes ($50,000 or more).

• The prevalence of binge drinking in college graduates is higher than in those with HS education.

• People who binge drink and have less than $15,000 income, binge drink more frequently and more heavily.

Conference: Health Care Disparities, 1 of 7


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    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      I thought the findings were interesting, and thought I'd share it. Thanks James.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      An interesting Hub about an interesting report. Thank you for this information.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      Thanks HS. It's very complicated by many factors. It sounds like CDC is actively working on identifying and correcting the problems that contribute to disparity. In some respects the information is comforting. It points out that there's not this imagined group of elites who are actively plotting to deny health care to the poor and minorities, but that disparity exists nevertheless. The causes are complex but we can make progress toward solving the problem by first admitting that there is a problem, and then taking action to solve the problem. I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment HS.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great detailed Hub Kim. Those with low incomes generally are only able to afford lower nutritional junk food and have minimal access to quality health care. Depression and stress is higher due to these conditions leading to higher incidents of disease. There may be negativity in these statistics but they are the facts and we should address them with better public and private policies. Your Hub is a good basis for starting a review of our policies.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      it's good to be disturbed, Wesman! However, if Jedi skills help prevent you from deep despair over the statistics, it sounds like a good idea! Thanks for reading and commenting Wesman!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Your statistics seem to have reduced the chances of me having a good day today; thus the power of statistics. However, my Jedi skills overcome the negativity of the numbers. ~waves light saber~