Wisconsin Minorities Fare Worse In Overall Health, Quality Of Life

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Wisconsin is "failing in terms of the health of several of itssubgroups," including minorities, rural and less-educated residents,according to a study by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

For the report, titled "Health of Wisconsin Report Card," Patrick Remington, a University of Wisconsin-Madisonprofessor of medicine; physician David Kindig; and researcher BridgetBooske used mortality rates to analyze life expectancy andhealth-related quality-of-life issues among infants, children, andworking-age and older adults.

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Researchers measured health disparitiesby race, gender, education and geography (Yu, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,7/11). "In every age group that we examined, the differences in healthbetween subgroups, defined by race or education, are very large,"Remington said, adding, "In fact, the differences within Wisconsin aregreater than the differences between the very best and very worststates" (Weier, Madison Capital Times, 7/11).

The report found that:

  • Mortalityrates for blacks and American Indians are significantly higher thanwhites in every age category -- sometimes two to three times higher;
  • The infant mortality rate for blacks is 17.6 deaths per 1,000 live births -- more than three times the rate for whites;
  • The infant mortality rate for American Indians is the second highest among all ethnic groups in the state (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/11); and
  • Thestate has not reduced mortality among working-age adults who have ahigh school diploma or are less educated, are black or are AmericanIndian.

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Remington attributedthe findings to low education among the state's minority population,which has been linked to higher mortality rates. "Other factors -- suchas diet and exercise, cigarette smoking, and income and education --are important contributors to the health of individuals and thepopulation as a whole," he added.

Kindig urged improvements inhealth literacy, physical environment, education and insurancecoverage. "This is a score card, not a road map for improvement, but itdoes show the groups that should be targeted," he said (Madison Capital Times, 7/11).
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Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork\t\t\t\t\t\t\t

Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserWeekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives,and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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