Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues…

Key Facts on Health and Health Care by Race and Ethnicity

Section 3: Health Status and Outcomes

Blacks and American Indians and Alaska Natives fare worse than Whites on the majority of examined measures of health status and health outcomes (Exhibit 3.1 and Appendix Table 2). Findings for Hispanics are more mixed, with them faring better than Whites on some measures and worse on others. As a broad group, Asians fare better than Whites across nearly all examined measures. However, as noted earlier, this finding masks underlying differences between subgroups of Asians. For example, other research suggests that some subgroups of Asians fare very poorly along measures of health status and outcomes.1

Exhibit 3.1: Number of Health Status and Outcome Measures for which Groups fared Better, the Same, or Worse Compared to Whites

Exhibit 3.1: Number of Health Status and Outcome Measures for which Groups fared Better, the Same, or Worse Compared to Whites

Self-Reported Health Status. These broad patterns across racial and ethnic groups generally hold true for measures of self-reported health status among nonelderly adults, with Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians and Alaska Natives reporting worse health status than Whites (Exhibit 3.2). American Indians and Alaska Natives also are more likely to report a physical limitation compared to Whites.

Exhibit 3.2 - Self-Reported Health and Physical Limitation Status of Nonelderly Adults by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.2 – Self-Reported Health and Physical Limitation Status of Nonelderly Adults by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Physically and mentally unhealthy days. Consistent with these patterns, Black and American Indian and Alaska Native nonelderly adults also are more likely than Whites to report 14 or more physically or mentally unhealthy days in the past 30 days (Exhibit 3.3).

Exhibit 3.3 - Percent of Nonelderly Adults with 14 or More Physically or Mentally Unhealthy Days in the Past 30 Days by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.3: Percent of Nonelderly Adults with 14 or More Physically or Mentally Unhealthy Days in the Past 30 Days by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Smoking and obesity rates. Similar patterns also are observed for smoking and obesity rates.  Among nonelderly adults, American Indians and Alaska Natives are more likely than Whites to smoke, and Hispanics, Blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives all have higher obesity rates than Whites (Exhibit 3.4).

Exhibit 3.4: Smoking and Obesity Rates among Nonelderly Adults by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.4: Smoking and Obesity Rates among Nonelderly Adults by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Obesity Rates among Children. Hispanic and Black children also are more likely to be obese than White children (Exhibit 3.5).

Exhibit 3.5: Percent of Children Ages 2-19 Who are Obese by Race/Ethnicity

Exhibit 3.5: Percent of Children Ages 2-19 Who are Obese by Race/Ethnicity

Alcohol and Illicit Drug Dependence or Abuse. American Indians and Alaska Natives in particular are more likely to report alcohol or illicit drug dependence or abuse compared to Whites. (Exhibit 3.6).

Exhibit 3.6: Substance Dependence or Abuse in the Past Year Among Teens and Adults Age 12 and Older by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.6: Substance Dependence or Abuse in the Past Year Among Teens and Adults Age 12 and Older by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Chronic Conditions. Disparities for Blacks and American Indians and Alaska Natives also are seen in the prevalence of chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Exhibit 3.7).

Exhibit 3.7: Percent of Nonelderly Adults with Selected Health Conditions by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.7: Percent of Nonelderly Adults with Selected Health Conditions by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Asthma among Children. Black children also are more likely than White children to have asthma (Exhibit 3.8).

Exhibit 3.8: Percent of Children Ages 1-19 Who Have Asthma by Race/Ethnicity

Exhibit 3.8: Percent of Children Ages 1-19 Who Have Asthma by Race/Ethnicity

HIV/AIDS Diagnoses and Deaths. Disparities in rates of HIV/AIDS diagnoses and deaths for Blacks and Hispanics are particularly striking (Exhibit 3.9). HIV and AIDS diagnoses rates among Blacks between ages 13-64 are more than eight and ten times higher than that for Whites, respectively. Similarly, the death rate for individuals diagnosed with HIV is eight times higher for Blacks compared to Whites. Hispanics also face very large disparities along these measures.

Exhibit 3.9: Age-Adjusted HIV or AIDS Diagnosis and Death Rate per 100,000 Among Teens and Adults by Race/Ethnicity

Exhibit 3.9: Age-Adjusted HIV or AIDS Diagnosis and Death Rate per 100,000 Among Teens and Adults by Race/Ethnicity

Cancer Incidence. Rates of cancer incidence are lower for Asians/Pacific Islanders and American Indians and Alaska Natives compared to Whites (Exhibit 3.10). In contrast, Blacks generally have higher cancer incidence rates compared to Whites, although the differences are small. Statistically significant differences between Hispanics and Whites cannot be identified due to overlapping samples between these groups.

Exhibit 3.10: Age-Adjusted Rate of Cancer Incidence Per 100,000 by Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Exhibit 3.10: Age-Adjusted Rate of Cancer Incidence Per 100,000 by Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Birth Risks and Outcomes. Hispanics, Blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives are more likely to have pre-term births and births with a low birthweight compared to Whites. Blacks and American Indians and Alaska Natives also are more than twice as likely as Whites to have a birth that received late or no prenatal care (Exhibit 3.11).

Exhibit 3.11: Percent of Births with Selected Risk Factors by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.11: Percent of Births with Selected Risk Factors by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Infant Mortality Rate. The infant mortality rate also is significantly higher for Blacks and American Indians and Alaska Natives compared to Whites (Exhibit 3.12).

Exhibit 3.12: Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000) by Race/Ethnicity, 2013

Exhibit 3.12: Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000) by Race/Ethnicity, 2013

Teen Birth Rate. In addition, the teen birth rate among Hispanics, Blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives is about twice as high as among Whites (Exhibit 3.13).

Exhibit 3.13: Birth Rate (per 1,000) for Teen Girls Ages 15-19 by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.13: Birth Rate (per 1,000) for Teen Girls Ages 15-19 by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Deaths Attributed to Selected Chronic Diseases. Blacks have higher death rates due to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer compared to Whites (Exhibit 3.14). Hispanics also have a higher diabetes death rate than Whites, but lower heart disease and cancer death rates, while Asians have lower death rates attributed these conditions.

Exhibit 3.14: Age-Adjusted Death Rates per 100,000 for Selected Diseases by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Exhibit 3.14: Age-Adjusted Death Rates per 100,000 for Selected Diseases by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Section 2: Health Access and Utilization Section 4: Health Coverage

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/KaiserFamFound

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.