Americans' self-reported health in decline, inequality growing

The gaps in the U.S. between the rich and poor, and the healthy and sick have grown over the past 25 years, according to new research published by JAMA Network Open.

Researchers looked at CDC data from more than 5.4 million respondents between 1993 and 2017 for trends in health equity and health justice, which is defined as "a measure of the correlation of health outcomes with income, race/ethnicity and sex."

Health equity was self-reported. People were asked to report the average number of healthy days — physical and mental — they'd experienced over the past month, as well as their general health on a five-point scale. Researchers found:  

  • Income disparities increased from 1993 to 2017
  • Self-reported health disparities grew alongside income disparities
  • Disparities between black Americans and white Americans improved
  • Health justice generally decreased from 1993 to 2017
  • Modest improvements in health justice were made between 2012 and 2015, but were lost again by 2017

"The results of this study show a worrisome lack of progress on health equity during the past 25 years in the United States," the authors wrote.

Read more here.

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