As a nation, Americans get sick more often than other industrialized countries. Since the mid 1990s Americans with at least 3 chronic illnesses has nearly doubled, and America’s ranking in infant mortality and lifespan has also plunged. This decline in overall health in our population is seen across the board, yet the numbers are far more grave depending on one’s ethnicity.
Below is an info-graphic with data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Care Statistics highlighting some of these the health inequalities, especially those of African Americans. The infographic particularly highlights the percentages of uninsured people younger 65 and the disparities among ethnicities. It also demonstrates the disparities on the percentage of people expected to live in good health, with only 55.9% of African Americans expected to live in good health as opposed to 69.4% of non-Hispanic Whites.
While having health insurance plays a major role in accessing health care, lack of health care is not the cause of disease. Our American diet and personal health behaviors affect our health, and growing research shows that our eating and lifestyle habits depend on and are largely shaped by our social determinants of health such as access to: education; good, quality food; a safe, clean and friendly living environment; job opportunities; and experiences of equality, or lack there of, in our daily life. For more information on this important topic, see our article: Unnatural Causes: Effects of Socioeconomics and Racism on Health