Between and With-In Group Heterogeneity in Health

Racial and ethnic health disparities exist across the lifespan and compound with age [21, 22]. Generally, racial-ethnic minorities experience shorter life expectancies, and higher rates of morbidity and disability than non-Hispanic Whites [23]. For example, the average life expectancy at birth for African Americans is approximately 4 years shorter than that of non-Hispanic Whites [24]; however, Asian elders have the longest life expectancy compared to all other groups [25]. Table 1.3 provides details on life expectancy by race/ethnic group . With regard to morbidity, Hispanics/Latino, Mexican Americans in particular, have a higher prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors (abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, and high fasting glucose levels) than non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans [26]. Heterogeneity in health also exists within ethnoracial groups. For example, studies of risk factors for diabetes vary considerably among Hispanic/Latino subgroups [27], and among

Table 1.3 Life expectancy by race/ethnic group

Race and ethnicity populations and life expectancies in the United States

Life expectancy at birth

% of Population over age 65 years in U.S. in 2012a

Projected % of population over age 65 years in 2050a

Race

African American

74.5b

8.8

12.3

American Indian/ Alaskan Native

71.1c

0.6

1.2

Asian

85.8d

3.8

7.1

Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander

79.0e

0.1

0.3

White

78.8b

86.0

77.3

Ethnicity

Hispanic

81.2b

7.3

18.4

aU.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Population Estimates and 2012 National Projections. http://www.census.gov

bCenter for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/

cIndian Health Service. http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/factsheets/disparities/

dCenter for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/populations/

eArkansas Department of Health. http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsservices/minorityhealth/

Asian-Americans, the prevalence of coronary artery disease is higher in Filipinos and Asian Indians than Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese Americans [28]. Collectively, these studies highlight the need to further investigate patterns of disease between and within ethnoracial groups.

 
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