Preventable Health Disparities
Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by populations that have been disadvantaged by their social or economic status, geographic location, and environment.(1) Many populations experience health disparities, including people from some racial and ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities, women, people who are LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or other), people with limited English proficiency, and other groups.
Across the country, people in some racial and ethnic minority groups experience higher rates of poor health and disease for a range of health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma, heart disease, cancer, and preterm birth, when compared to their White counterparts. For example, the average life expectancy among Black or African American people in the United States is four years lower than that of White people.(3) These disparities sometimes persist even when accounting for other demographic and socioeconomic factors, such as age or income.
Communities can prevent health disparities when community- and faith-based organizations, employers, healthcare systems and providers, public health agencies, and policymakers work together to develop policies, programs, and systems based on a health equity framework and community needs.