News & Announcements
Health Disparities Associated with Education and Poverty: Depression Five Times Greater for Poor
Posted: May 31, 2012
A recent article published in Bloomberg discussed the findings of the recently released annual report by the National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, which showed health disparities are strongly associated with education and poverty. Poverty is tied to the greatest health disparities. In 2005 to 2010, depression among those 20 to 64 years old was five times as high for those below the poverty line as those whose incomes were 400 percent or more above it. The report has a 2011 Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health.
Each year, the National Center for Health Statistics within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases a report on the health of Americans. The most recent report found that higher levels of education are associated with longer life expectancies and lower obesity rates, the article noted. For instance, in 2006, a 25-year-old man without a college degree lived 9.3 years fewer than a man with a college degree. Among women, the life expectancy was 8.6 years fewer for women without a college degree compared to women with college degrees. Amy Bernstein, a health services researcher and lead study author, said “There are huge differences by education. I was surprised to see things haven’t improved.” The annual report also explored the uninsured rate, cost of the uninsured, and levels of income. For instance, the proportion of uninsured persons ages 18 to 44 increased from 22 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2010, and the proportion on Medicaid nearly doubled to 11 percent, the article noted. The article noted that poverty is the greatest predictor of health disparities, with levels of depression and toothlessness five times greater among those living below the federal poverty level compared with those living above 400 percent of the poverty level. In 2009, the cost of total-personal health care was $2.1 trillion, nearly double the amount recorded in 2000.
Updated Factsheet Available: HIV among Gay and Bisexual Men
Posted: May 30, 2012
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2009, MSM accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections, and MSM with a history of injection drug use (MSM-IDU) accounted for an additional 3% of new infections. That same year, young MSM accounted for 69% of new HIV infections among persons aged 13–29 and 44% of infections among all MSM. At the end of 2009, an estimated 441,669 (56%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the US were MSM or MSM-IDU. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released an updated factsheet that lists data related to HIV among Gay and Bisexual Men, along with the prevention challenges that exist.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Section on Diversity and Health Disparities
Posted: May 28, 2012
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's (NIAAA) website has a section on Diversity and Health Disparities that list statistics on disparities in patterns of drinking, alcohol and health consequences:
Patterns of drinking
Read more on the NIAAA website.
Study Finds Genetic Marker in African Americans That Influences Smoking Habits
Posted: May 24, 2012
Researchers at Stanford University, who conducted the largest study to date of African-Americans’ genetics and smoking behavior, have found a genetic marker that influences smoking habits. The marker is correlated with how many cigarettes per day a person smokes.The study titled Genome-wide meta-analyses of smoking behaviors in African Americans was published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.
The researchers studied a gene that has been found in previous studies to predict smoking behavior in people of European descent. The specific genetic marker within that gene that they focused on varies in people of different ethnicities, Health Canal reports. The study included data from more than 32,000 African Americans.
“Knowing that this gene is important in different ancestral groups really points to its importance and suggests it as a target for drug discovery and development,” lead researcher Sean David, MD said in a news release. He noted that African Americans tend to take up smoking at a later age than those of European descent, and smoke fewer cigarettes daily. They have a higher risk of developing lung cancer, however. They are also less likely to quit smoking.
A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November 2011 found almost 76 percent of African-American smokers wanted to quit in 2010. While 59 percent tried, only 3 percent were successful, the lowest rate among races and ethnicities measured by the CDC.
Mental Health Service Use Disparities in Low-Income, Ethnic-Minority Older Adults
Posted: May 23, 2012
Older American Mental Health Week is May 19-25. In a previous year the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force had co-sponsored a congressional briefing, to honor Older Americans Mental Health Week, on addressing health disparities among diverse older Americans. APA member Patricia A. Areán, PhD, presented results of her research demonstrating the benefits of integrating mental health in primary care to reduce health disparities among older adults while also lowering costs compared with usual care. James S. Jackson, PhD, discussed findings from his research showing complex patterns of physical and mental health outcomes over the life-course related to race, ethnicity, nativity, gender, and cultural differences. Areán and Jackson were joined on the panel by Laurie M. Young, PhD, of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who discussed health disparities in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders. Areán and Jackson also met with key Senate offices to discuss recommendations for reducing disparities among our nation's elders.