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Social Determinants of Health Are Important Contributors to Mortality Disparities in U.S., Study Finds

By The CCM Team

In a large, diverse study of nearly 7,000 U.S. adults, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers and colleagues describe the impact of common social disparities that are often linked to race and ethnicity, such as a person’s neighborhood, education, income and access to health care, as important predictors of longevity.

The findings, published July 18 in Circulation, reveal that Black adults had a 34% greater risk of death from any cause compared with white adults followed for the same period of time. After adjusting for social disparity factors, by comparing adults with similar household income, neighborhood wealth, education and health insurance, the relative excess risk of death in Black adults fell by about half, to 16% greater mortality. Similar reductions were seen for cardiovascular disease (CVD) death, and were also noted among Hispanic and Chinese Americans compared with white adults.  

 “We have experienced tremendous improvements in public health in recent decades; however, these study results demonstrate continued mortality inequities among racial and ethnic minorities in our country. We demonstrate that social determinants of health explain many of these differences,” says Wendy Post, M.D., M.S., corresponding author of the study and director of cardiovascular research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Red more: From the Johns Hopkins Newsroom

CDC findings reflect previous assessments examining specific disease states

In February 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Black people living in areas with a higher Social Vulnerability Index score were more likely to get an HIV diagnosis, underscoring the role social determinants play in HIV racial health disparities.

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