Blacks, Hispanics In Connecticut At Higher Risk For Chronic Diseases

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Chronic Diseases

Blacks and Hispanics in Connecticut are more likely than whites tobe in fair or poor health and are at higher risk for chronic diseases,according to a report released Thursday by the NAACP Connecticut State Conference of Branches, the New Haven Register reports.The report used publicly available data and medical literature toexamine health conditions among state residents ages 18 and older from2000 to 2004.

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The study found that:

  • Statistics of 31 Connecticut hospitalsshow that the average age at which blacks were hospitalized for chronicillness was 51 years old, compared with age 59 for Hispanics and age 65for whites;
  • Blacks and lower-income patients had higher rates of avoidable hospitalizations;
  • Blackand Hispanic mothers are more likely to have premature babies andchildren with low birthweights, and they are more likely to receiveprenatal care in late pregnancy;
  • Children of black mothers were more likely than children of white mothers to die prematurely;
  • Black men had a higher risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer; and
  • White women were more likely to develop breast cancer, but black women were more likely to die from it.

Accordingto the report, the health care disparities can stem from racism;socioeconomic factors, such as income; or cultural beliefs of patientsand medical professionals.

James Rawlings, chair of the stateconference's Health Committee and president of the Greater New Havenbranch, called the numbers "horrific." Rawlings said the committeewould work to eliminate the disparities by advocating for a stateOffice of Minority Health, which would review state legislation and itslikely effects on health care delivery. In addition, the committee willadvocate diversity in teaching staff at medical, nursing and publichealth schools, as well as linking health care licensing with programsthat address disparities.

Scot Esdaile, NAACP state president,said the report "is alarming in that African-Americans in Connecticut,despite the significant economic wealth of the state, continue tosuffer and bear the burden of excessive disease, death, disability anddissatisfaction. ... There is much to do relative to social injusticein health care" (Carter, New Haven Register, 8/31).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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