Racial Health Disparities Persist Among Blacks Living in Berkeley, Calif., Study Finds
The overall health of residents living in Berkeley, Calif., has improved in recent years, but racial, educational and income disparities still exist, according to a report released by the city on Tuesday, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The city's health status report is compiled with data from surveys, U.S. Census statistics, police and fire reports, the school district, state education and health data, and other sources, according to the Tribune.
Since the last report in 1999, city officials found that:
- Hospitalizations because of asthma complications, particularly among blacks and those with low incomes, are high;
- The number of low birthweight black infants has increased, and the rate is twice as high as that of other races;
- Blacks have higher rates of illness and deaths from hypertension, heart disease and stroke, compared with white residents; and
- There have been "alarming increases" in the number of blacks, Hispanics and low-income individuals who are overweight.
"This epidemic of obesity represents a huge risk for future chronic disease such as diabetes," the report stated, adding that blacks "who have higher rates of smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and low fruit and vegetable intake are at even greater risk from this epidemic."
The 1999 report indicated a racial gap between blacks and whites who receive prenatal care, while the new report shows that more than 90% of pregnant women receive prenatal care during the first trimester (Bender, Oakland Tribune, 5/23). The report recommends that state agencies, local organizations, schools, lawmakers and others collaborate on efforts to reduce the racial disparities (Jones, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/22). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.