Annual Report Finds Racial Health Disparities in Anne Arundel County, Md.
In comparison with whites, blacks in Anne Arundel County, Md., have higher infant higher uninsured rates, according to a report released this week, the Baltimore Sun reports. The Anne Arundel County Department of Health's 11th annual Report Card of Community Health Indicators compiles data on causes of death and life expectancy, cancer rates, infant health and mortality, communicable diseases and other health issues (Baltimore Sun, 5/21).
The report found that the black infant mortality rate in the county tripled between 2005 and 2006, the second highest level since 1997. The rate among whites increased by less than 1%. The average life expectancy for blacks is about 74 years, compared with 78 for whites. In addition, 20% of the county's black population is uninsured, compared with 13% of Asian-Americans and 9% of whites. The report also found that cancer is the leading cause of death for all residents and that blacks have higher cancer mortality rates than whites.
"The matters consistently affecting African-Americans in Anne Arundel County are the allocation of funding and dissemination of information into our community," Mikio Manuel, spokesperson for the county chapter of the NAACP, said, adding, "It is for this reason the NAACP always urges African-Americans to become informed and engaged in the issues affecting their families and communities."
Ronna Gotthainer, the county's health planner, said the mortality disparities can be attributed to several "complex factors," including socioeconomic status, genes and access to health care. She said the county has established a community health awareness program to reduce racial health disparities (Flanagan, Baltimore Examiner, 5/21).
The report is available online (.pdf).