Nebraska County Report Shows Health Disparities Between Black, White Residents
Blacks in Douglas County, Neb., have higher rates of cancer death, cardiovascular disease, infant mortality, sexually transmitted infections and other health issues than whites, according to a report released Friday by the Health Department, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
According to the report, in 2005, there were 179.1 cancer deaths per 100,000 people among whites and 202.7 deaths per 100,000 people among blacks. The death rate from cardiovascular disease was 164.7 per 100,000 people among whites, compared with 206.2 deaths per 100,000 people among blacks. The rate of gonorrhea among blacks was nearly 16 times higher than the rate for whites, and infant mortality also was higher among blacks, the report said.
Adi Pour, Douglas County health director, said the disparities are related to income levels and barriers to care. Doris Lassiter, former president of the Nebraska Minority Public Health Association, said blacks could help address the disparities in part by not smoking, improving diet and nutrition, and seeing a doctor regularly. She added that more affordable health care also is needed to address the health gap.
Pour said the county has undertaken efforts to address health disparities, including a two-year-old effort that trains minorities to educate their peers about health screenings and other prevention methods. The county also increased campaigns that help to raise awareness among blacks about sexually transmitted infections (O'Connor, Omaha World-Herald, 7/21).