We must to better!
CNN posted a report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Lead author Ken Kochanek explained that African Americans have a shorter life expectancy compared to whites because of heart disease, cancer and NOW homicides.
Research shows that life expectancy at birth increased from 70.8 years in 1970 to 78.7 years in 2010 for the population overall – that’s an 11% increase. Life expectancy in the United States has been gradually improving since 1900. The 78.7 average was a new high. In 2010 however, the life expectancy for the African-American population still fell short of the white population’s by 3.8 years. Studies have shown that white Americans have always lived longer on average than black Americans – at least for as long as the U.S. government has collected this data.
Black men did fare the worst of all the groups they compared – with their life expectancy at 4.7 years lower than white men, who live on average to the age of 76.5.
The statisticians found that black men don’t live as long as white men primarily because of higher incidence rates of death from heart disease, homicide and cancer. It is the homicide issue that stands out most for Kochanek.
“The causes of death that account for these differences between the populations haven’t changed all that much,” Kochanek said. “Heart disease, diabetes, stroke – these differences always seem to be there. But what’s interesting in this particular report is just what a difference homicide plays … The difference between homicides for black and white men in particular is gigantic.”
“From a public health standpoint I’m sure the experts would say it’s especially worrying,” he said. “You would hope the (racial disparities) would be accounted for by natural causes. You can try and do prevention work to keep heart disease down or diabetes for instance. But when you see homicide as having such a big impact it’s like, ‘Wow, this is a much more complicated issue to fix.’”