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Minorities, poor, uneducated bear the burden

norities, persons with low income, those with less than a high school education, women and millions of Americans without health insurance do not get the quality health care we are capable of delivering."

In the study, men and blacks had more premature death due to cardiovascular disease, compared with women and whites, as measured by years of potential life lost before age 75.

In 2001, overall U.S. life expectancy was 77.2 years. Life expectancy was higher in women than men by 5.4 years and higher in whites than blacks by 5.5 years. Men lost 1708.3 years of potential life per 100,000 persons due to "diseases of the heart" compared to women, who lost 765.4 years. Blacks lost 2,248.9 years of potential life per 100,000 persons compared to whites, who lost 1,115 years.

Particularly surprising, Mensah said, were findings about obesity.

"Educational attainment reduced the prevalence of obesity, especially in men," he said. "In contrast, African-American women had a high prevalence of obesity and abdominal obesity regardless of educational status. These data suggest the need for increased emphasis on understanding the determinants of obesity in African-American women and investing in policies and programs to decrease obesity."

Eliminating health disparities is the overarching goal of the Healthy People 2010 national public health agenda, Mensah said. In this study, CDC researchers examined the most recently available population-based data on disparities in cardiovascular disease and its related risk factors.

Researchers reviewed the results from three major studies:

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a random telephone survey conducted by state health departments and the CDC;
  • the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002; and
  • the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a continuing nationwide sample survey of the civilian non-institutionalized population collect
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
15-Mar-2005


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