Blacks, Some Hispanics More Likely To Become Disabled
Blacks and some Hispanics over age 65 are more likely than their whitecounterparts to develop a disability, in large part because ofsocioeconomic and health statuses, according to a report published inthe December issue of the American Journal of Public Health, Reuters Health reports.
For the report, Northwestern Universityresearchers led by Dorothy Dunlop compared disability among blacks,Hispanics and whites using a nationally representative group of 8,161healthy men and women over age 65. After six years, black participantswere 60% more likely and Hispanics who chose to be interviewed inSpanish were 80% more likely than whites to develop a disability,researchers found. Hispanics interviewed in English had a disabilityrisk similar to whites, according to the report.
Researchersfound virtually no disability disparities existed among the groupsafter taking into account socioeconomic status and healthy behaviors,such as exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.Researchers concluded that healthy behaviors had more of an effect onwhether a person developed a disability than chronic illness did. Blackparticipants and Spanish-speaking Hispanic participants were lesslikely to engage in healthy behaviors, according to the report.Minorities also were less likely to have private supplemental healthinsurance in addition to Medicare -- a factor thought to lessen aperson's chance of developing a disability.
Dunlop said thatculturally tailored programs that increase physical activity andemphasize having a healthy weight "may prove to be efficient strategiesnot only for reducing rates of disability in activities of daily livingbut also for lowering racial/ethnic disparities in disability" (Reuters Health, 11/13).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.