A look at health (and healthy equity) in the U.S. ...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released Health, United States, 2015 – a comprehensive statistical overview of the national health data. The 2015 report contains a special section on racial and ethnic health disparities.

The data is voluminous but a few key points are:

•        Life expectancy for U.S. males is 76.4 years and 81.2 years for females.  The gap in life expectancy between males and females narrowed from 5.1 years in 2004 to 4.8 years in 2014.

•        Between 2004 and 2014, the birth rate among teenagers aged 15–19 fell 40%, from 40.5 to 24.2 live births per 1,000 females—a record low for the United States.

•        In 2011–2014, the prevalence of children with obesity among those aged 2–5 years was 8.9%, 17.5% among children aged 6–11, and 20.5% among adolescents aged 12–19.

•        In 2014, 16.8% of adults aged 18 and over were current cigarette smokers, a decline from 2004 (20.9%). Men (18.8%) were more likely than women (14.8%) to be current cigarette smokers in 2014.

•        In 2014, personal healthcare expenditures in the United States totaled $2.6 trillion—a 5.0% increase from 2013. The per capita personal health care expenditure for the total U.S. population was $8,054 in 2014—up from $7,727 in 2013.

As for racial and ethnic health disparities (which the U.S. HHS defines as: “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage”) the report found:

•        In 2014, life expectancy was longer for Hispanic men and women than for non-Hispanic white or non-Hispanic black men and women.

•        During 1999–2013, infant mortality rates were highest among infants born to non-Hispanic black women

•        In 2014, non-Hispanic black mothers had the highest percentage of preterm births of the five racial and ethnic groups

•        In 2011–2014, non-Hispanic black men and women were the most likely to have hypertension compared with adults in the other racial and ethnic groups.