HEALTH

CDC Report Detailing Racial Health Disparity Has Grim News for Latinos

The first Center for Disease Control report detailing racial disparities had grim news about Hispanics.

The report, which was released Thursday, examined health disparities by sex, race, income and education. It showed striking disparities among groups, and Hispanics tended to fall into some of the worst categories. Among the bleak findings for Hispanics:

-- While teenage pregnancy rates fell fell among all ethnic groups, Hispanic girls (77.4 per 1,000 females) were three times more likely than whites (26.7) to end up pregnant, and somewhat higher than blacks (62.9).

-- Mexican-Americans have the least success in controlling high blood pressure – even though it is blacks and whites that have the highest high blood pressure rate.

-- Hispanics account for one-third of the population that is uninsured – and they tend to live in some of the most polluted and contaminated areas.

-- Asthma rates were higher among Puerto Ricans (18.4 percent) than any other ethnic groups (non-Hispanics blacks had a 14.6 percent rate and among non-Hispanic whites it was 8.2 percent.)

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, who commissioned the report, said in the foreword that the differences in groups can be reduced but will require public awareness and understanding of the most vulnerable groups.

“These problems must be addressed with intervention strategies related to both health and social programs, and more broadly, access to economic, educational, employment, and housing opportunities,” he said in the report.

Among other findings in the report:

-- Local sources of air pollution, often in urban counties, can impact the health of people who live or work near these sources.

-- Large disparities in infant mortality rates persist. Infants born to black women are 1.5 to 3 times more likely to die than infants born to women of other races/ethnicities.

-- Men of all race/ethnicities are two to three times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than are women, and death rates are twice as high among American Indians/Alaska Natives.

-- Men of all ages and race/ethnicities are approximately four times more likely to die by suicide than females. Though American Indians/Alaska Natives, who have a particularly high rate of suicide in adolescence and early adulthood, account for only about 1 percent of the total suicides, they share the highest rates with Non-Hispanic whites, who account for nearly 5 of 6 suicides.

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