Health Care Fact Sheet

Health Disparities


When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that African Americans have

  • More illness. Blacks (including African Americans) account for about 13% of the US population and about half (49%) of the people who get HIV and AIDS. The AIDS case rate per 100,000 for African Americans was more han 9 times that of Whites in 2005.
  • Shorter survival rates. Blacks with AIDS often don't live as long as people of other races with AIDS
  • More deaths. For African Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death

Heart Disease

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African Americans
  • African Americans are 13% of the population; nearly twice that many die from heart disease each year
  • Among non-Hispanic blacks age 20 and older, 46% suffer from cardiovascular disease
  • CVD caused the deaths of nearly 1 million African Americans in 2005
  • African American men are 30% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white males.

Diabetes and Hypertension

  • 3.7 million (14.7%) of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes
  • Blacks are 1.5 times more likely to contract diabetes than Whites
  • 43% of African American women, 39% of African American men suffer from hypertension (CDC)


Adult Obesity

  • African Americans have the highest rates of obesity
  • 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity compared with Whites
  • 53% of African American women, 36% of African American men are obese

Childhood Obesity

  • 18.5% of African American boys obese (slightly higher than that of Whites)
  • 27.7% of African American girls obese (nearly 2 times that of Whites)
  • Current generation is projected to be the first not to live longer than its parents

Barriers to Healthy Lifestyles

Food Deserts

  • Food deserts literature shows that those who have better access to supermarkets have lower levels of obesity and related diseases
  • USDA reports show that segregation by race and income are associated with limited access
  • One of the most powerful predictors of limited access to food variety in rural communities is socioeconomic disadvantage

Uninsured African Americans

  • 18% of African Americans under 65 years are without health insurance coverage:
  • Over 103 million people of color [nationally] suffer disproportionately in the health care system
  • A larger share of African Americans and Latinos lack a usual place of health care, and they are less than half as likely as whites to have a regular doctor (HCAN)

Pre-Existing Conditions

  • In 45 states across the country, insurance companies can discriminate against people based on their pre-existing conditions when they try to purchase health insurance directly from insurance companies
  • A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults - 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market - were discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years
  • One in 10 people with cancer said they could not obtain health coverage, and six percent said they lost their coverage, because of being diagnosed with the disease (