Nationwide health disparities report released

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A new report from the United Health Foundation looks at how far we’ve come and how far we need to go in recovering from the COVID-pandemic. The report includes a look at disparities involving race, education, gender, and geography. Horizonte’s Jose Cardenas talked with Dr. Georges Benjamin from the American Public Health Association.

The foundation does a nationwide and statewide view of health reports. “Arizona has done quite well in terms of low disparities between living in metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas,” Benjamin said. But, Arizona had high disparities in the Native American and Asian Pacific Islander populations for premature deaths, he added.

The report found that there were also high disparities in education, which falls under the social determinants of health. Social determinants of health can help you become more healthy or can impede your health. “There is a high disparity between those with less than a high school education and college graduates with high health status,” he mentioned. High health status refers to when people think their health status is “good” or “excellent.” Poverty and food insecurity are other examples of social determinants, Benjamin said.

“The report was done pre-pandemic, and even then, there was still a huge problem with life expectancy for certain populations,” he mentioned. Benjamin went on to say the reasons for this are obesity, the opioid epidemic, and the stalling rates of heart disease and cancer. Several years before the pandemic, we saw a reduction in life expectancy in the nation, he said.”

The pandemic itself independently resulted in an enormous loss of life expectancy, he added.

Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

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