Racial Differences and Racial Disparities: The Distinction Matters
Those who practice medicine in the United States are unavoidably confronted by the fact that health status, disease burden and lifespan vary by population groups - particularly the persistent reality that cardiovascular disease outcomes are poorer in African Americans compared to European Americans (the majority reference group), Asian Americans (those from China and Japan having best outcomes, those from South Asia having higher disease burden at younger ages) and Hispanic Americans (who experience better than expected outcomes despite having many risk factors). The causes for population variation in health outcomes are multifactorial and can include biologic, environmental (physical and social), genetic, epigenetic and social determinants, a mixture of disparities and differences.
- Received February 6, 2015.
- Accepted February 6, 2015.