Ten Fast Facts About Health Disparities

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At the May 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research in Washington, D.C., the director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) — Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD — shared findings from the institute's latest research priorities: disparities and tobacco control. Following are 10 fast facts about disparities from NIMHD, which is one of the 27 institutes and centers within the National Institutes of Health.

  1. Significant disparities exist in medical education; of all medical school graduates in 2014, only six percent were African American, five percent were Latino and less than one percent were American Indian or Alaska Native.
  2. Socio-economic status matters”; lower income households are three times more likely to die from anything” than households earning more than $115,000.
  3. Life expectancy for American Indians/​Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians from 2007 to 2009 was 68 years for men and 74.3 years for women.
  4. The richest one percent of the population lives either 10.1 years (women) or 14.6 years (men) longer than the poorest one percent.
  5. Lower income people living in a wealthier area have a higher mortality rate than lower income people living in a poorer area.
  6. Compared with metro areas, non-metro areas have a higher age-adjusted death rate and a greater percentage of potentially excess deaths from the five leading causes of death.
  7. Food and housing security are much lower among African Americans and Latinos.
  8. Second-hand smoke disproportionately affects minorities.
  9. African Americans, American Indians/​Alaska Natives and multi-race populations had a higher rate of cigarette smoking in 2015 than other race/​ethnic groups.
  10. African American men have disproportionately higher rates of lung cancer, even after adjusting for the intensity of cigarettes smoked.