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Privileged White U.S. Citizens Have Better Health Outcomes

MONDAY, Dec. 28, 2020 -- Privileged White U.S. citizens have better health outcomes than average U.S. citizens for several health outcomes, but health outcomes are not always better than those in other developed countries, according to a study published online Dec. 28 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared health outcomes of White U.S. citizens living in the 1 and 5 percent highest-income counties in the United States with residents in 12 other developed countries.

The researchers found that the infant mortality rate was 4.01 per 1,000 and the maternal mortality rate was 10.85 per 100,000 among White U.S. citizens in the 5 percent highest-income counties, which were both higher than the mean rates for any of the comparison countries. For White U.S. citizens in the 5 percent highest-income counties, the five-year survival rate was 67.2 percent for colon cancer, which was higher than that of the average U.S. citizen (64.9 percent), and higher, comparable, and lower than that of average citizens in six, four, and two comparison countries, respectively. For White children with acute lymphocytic leukemia in the 5 percent highest-income counties, the five-year survival rate was 92.6 percent, which was higher and comparable to one and 11 comparison countries, respectively.

"Being able to use social and financial capital in the United States to buy the best health care is not necessarily associated with the world's best health outcomes," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and health insurance industries.

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Posted: December 2020

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