What are Health Disparities?

What are Health Disparities?

Health disparities are differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes, quality of health care and access to health care services that exist across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

Health Disparities can be linked to the availability and access to:

  • Nutritious food
  • Affordable and reliable public transportation
  • Decent and safe housing
  • Health insurance
  • Clean water and non-polluted air
  • Culturally sensitive health care providers

Examples include:

  • Rural Americans on average are more likely to have chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
  • African American children are 2.5 times more likely to die as an infant compared to non-Hispanic white children.
  • Depression is twice as common among women compared to men, and is predicted to be a leading cause of disability by 2020.
  • The risk for obesity is significantly greater among people with lower income and education, which can increase the risk for diabetes and heart disease.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)