Wisconsin Minorities Fare Worse in Overall Health, Quality of Life Than Rest of State Population, Report Finds
Wisconsin is "failing in terms of the health of several of its subgroups," including minorities, rural and less-educated residents, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
For the report, titled "Health of Wisconsin Report Card," Patrick Remington, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medicine; physician David Kindig; and researcher Bridget Booske used mortality rates to analyze life expectancy and health-related quality-of-life issues among infants, children, and working-age and older adults. Researchers measured health disparities by race, gender, education and geography (Yu, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/11). "In every age group that we examined, the differences in health between subgroups, defined by race or education, are very large," Remington said, adding, "In fact, the differences within Wisconsin are greater than the differences between the very best and very worst states" (Weier, Madison Capital Times, 7/11).
The report found that:
- Mortality rates for blacks and American Indians are significantly higher than whites in every age category -- sometimes two to three times higher;
- The infant mortality rate for blacks is 17.6 deaths per 1,000 live births -- more than three times the rate for whites;
- The infant mortality rate for American Indians is the second highest among all ethnic groups in the state (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/11); and
- The state has not reduced mortality among working-age adults who have a high school diploma or are less educated, are black or are American Indian.
Remington attributed the findings to low education among the state's minority population, which has been linked to higher mortality rates. "Other factors -- such as diet and exercise, cigarette smoking, and income and education -- are important contributors to the health of individuals and the population as a whole," he added.
Kindig urged improvements in health literacy, physical environment, education and insurance coverage. "This is a score card, not a road map for improvement, but it does show the groups that should be targeted," he said (Madison Capital Times, 7/11).
The report card is available online.