Study examines changes in health equity in US over 25 years

Bottom Line: A survey study based on 25 years of data from more than 5.4 million people in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System suggests more work is needed on health equity in the United States. The study assessed health equity for healthy days and self-reported health, using a novel measure of health equity as well as the disparities gap between black and white individuals, income disparities and health justice (a measure of how health outcomes correlate with income, race/ethnicity and sex). National estimates of change from 1993 to 2017 suggest downward movement in average health; improvement in the disparities gap between black and white individuals; a decline in other measures of health equity and health justice; and worsening income disparities. The study has limitations in its data. Study authors suggest more or different approaches are needed to improve health equity.

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Authors: Frederick J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., and Nathaniel W. Anderson, B.A., of the University of California, Los Angeles

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.5529)

Editor’s Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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