Blacks, Hispanics in Connecticut at Higher Risk for Chronic Diseases, According to Report
Blacks and Hispanics in Connecticut are more likely than whites to be in fair or poor health and are at higher risk for chronic diseases, according to a report released Thursday by the NAACP Connecticut State Conference of Branches, the New Haven Register reports. The report used publicly available data and medical literature to examine health conditions among state residents ages 18 and older from 2000 to 2004.
The study found that:
- Statistics of 31 Connecticut hospitals show that the average age at which blacks were hospitalized for chronic illness was 51 years old, compared with age 59 for Hispanics and age 65 for whites;
- Blacks and lower-income patients had higher rates of avoidable hospitalizations;
- Black and Hispanic mothers are more likely to have premature babies and children with low birthweights, and they are more likely to receive prenatal care in late pregnancy;
- Children of black mothers were more likely than children of white mothers to die prematurely;
- Black men had a higher risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer; and
- White women were more likely to develop breast cancer, but black women were more likely to die from it.
James Rawlings, chair of the state conference's Health Committee and president of the Greater New Haven branch, called the numbers "horrific." Rawlings said the committee would work to eliminate the disparities by advocating for a state Office of Minority Health, which would review state legislation and its likely effects on health care delivery. In addition, the committee will advocate diversity in teaching staff at medical, nursing and public health schools, as well as linking health care licensing with programs that address disparities.
Scot Esdaile, NAACP state president, said the report "is alarming in that African-Americans in Connecticut, despite the significant economic wealth of the state, continue to suffer and bear the burden of excessive disease, death, disability and dissatisfaction. ... There is much to do relative to social injustice in health care" (Carter, New Haven Register, 8/31).
The report is available online (.pdf). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.