HealthDay News — There are still racial and ethnic disparities in mortality, and these disparities are widening for some age groups, according to a study published online Sept. 24 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Keith P. Gennuso, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in Madison, and colleagues obtained mortality data from 2007 to 2016 by race/ethnicity and age from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database in 2018 to 2019. Absolute and relative racial/ethnic-mortality disparities were determined by age groups, and trends in disparities were examined.

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The researchers found that the youngest and oldest age groups had the largest relative and absolute disparities, respectively. For most age groups, an inflection point was detected between 2009 and 2012 in a trend analysis in which a period of decreasing disparities switched to one of increasing disparities. Of the decreasing disparities in period 1, three-quarters were attributed to lowering mortality among the black subgroup. The increase in child disparities during period 2 was due to increased mortality among blacks, while increased adult disparities were due to increased mortality among whites. As a result, the overall mean shifted away from subgroups with lower rates.

“These findings call attention to the urgency in addressing recent shifts in racial mortality disparities, particularly among the youngest age group where increasing disparity is resultant from a reversal of progress in a large, marginalized population subgroup,” the authors write.

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