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Black Americans living lover, but disparities remain, CDC reports

Black Americans living lover, but disparities remain, CDC reports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, May 2 reported that a significant rise has been observed in the life expectancy of the country's black American population.

The good news is that the overall death rate for black people in the United States has declined about 25 percent in recent years. A black child born in 2014 can expect to live to be 75.6, compared to 79 for a white child born that year. The data showed an 80 percent drop in HIV deaths among 18- to 49-year-old African-Americans from 1999 to 2015. "Death rates for blacks have declined substantially in the past 17 years". For blacks ages 35 to 49, it is five times higher than for whites.

The CDC based its report on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Vital Statistics System and its own Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The data showed that from 1999 to 2015, death rates decreased significantly in both black and white populations, and the racial disparity in death rates between the two populations fell from 33 percent in 1999 to 16 percent in 2015.

The years have seen improvements among blacks in several age-specific mortality rates for selected leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, and HIV.

Despite these advances, younger black men still tend to die far younger than whites, according to the CDC report, describing this trend as a "concern".

For almost two decades, the homicide rate among blacks aged 18-34 did not change; this group is nine times more likely than whites of the same age to die from homicide.

· Blacks ages 18 to 64 are at higher risk of early death than whites.

"These findings are generally consistent with previous reports that use the term 'weathering, ' which suggests that blacks experience premature aging and earlier health decline than whites and that this decline in health accumulates across the entire lifespan and potentially across generations. In particular, diagnosing and treating the leading diseases that cause death at earlier stages is an important step for saving lives", Liburd remarked.

The CDC goes to say that community organizations can make a significant difference by training community health workers in underserved communities to educate and link people to free or low-priced services; by working across sectors to connect people with services that impact health, such as transportation and housing; and by providing assistance to get people to see their doctors, take prescribed medications, and go to follow-up appointments.

For example, African American adults are more likely to report they can not see a doctor because of cost, the CDC said.

According to the report, social and economic factors such as poverty are partly accountable for the differences in health.

The CDC recommends investing in education, health care, and working with diverse government sectors to promote a decent state of health, starting in childhood.

"We see similar disparities in treatment for cancer patients", he said.

Cancer is a major contributor to deaths among African-Americans 'who have the highest death rate for all cancers combined compared with whites, ' said the report.

Timothy Cunningham, a CDC epidemiologist and the study's lead author, said on the conference call: "Across all age groups, homicide among blacks has two-and-a-half times the death rate as HIV and three-and-a-half times the death rate as suicide". "Where we live determines the quality of housing, determines the schools we go to", he added. However, those health disparities appear to be getting smaller.


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