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Study Analyzes Causes Of San Francisco Deaths By Race, Gender, Age

Armen Hareyan's picture

A new report by the San Francisco Department of Public Health analyzed the leading causes of death for specific racial groups, the San Francisco Chroniclereports. The report looked at death certificates of all city residentswho died in 2003 and 2004 and then examined the race, gender, age andcause of death for each individual. The same study was conducted in theearly 1990s.

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Compared with other groups, blacks -- who make up6% of the city's population -- lose more years of life expectancy fromnearly all leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke,various forms of cancer, drug overdose, alcohol use disorders anddiabetes, the report said. Violence, more than any other cause ofdeath, was responsible for the highest loss of life expectancy amongblack men.

The analysis also found that among city residents:

  • Hispanics and Asian-Americans generally lost fewer years of life expectancy than white residents;
  • Hispanics are healthier than predicted for their socioeconomic status, a similar finding to the 1990s study;
  • Cardiovasculardisease resulted in the most lost years of life expectancy forAsian-Americans, whites, and black and Hispanic women;
  • HIV/AIDS-related complications cause the most premature deaths among Hispanic men;
  • Among all residents, there were fewer deaths from HIV/AIDS-related complications than in the 1990s study;
  • Stroke was the second leading cause of death among Asian-Americans; and
  • Whites lose more years of life expectancy to suicide and colon cancer than blacks.

MitchKatz, the city's public health chief, said that race does appear toaffect an individual's life span and cause of death. He said heanticipates the findings will help physicians, community leaders,educators and activists tailor medical care and public awarenesscampaigns to different ethnic groups. "To extend meaningful life, youhave to know what are the different things people are dying of," hesaid (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/24).

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.