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Privileged White U.S. Citizens Have Better Health Outcomes

White patient in a hospital bed.
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Key Takeaways

  • Researchers from UPenn compared health outcomes of White U.S. citizens living in the 1% and 5% highest-income counties in the United States with residents in 12 other developed countries.
  • The infant mortality rate was 4.01 per 1,000, and the maternal mortality rate was 10.85 per 100,000 among White U.S. citizens in the 5% highest-income counties, which were both higher than the mean rates for any of the comparison countries.
  • For White U.S. citizens in the 5% percent highest-income counties, the 5-year survival rate was 67.2% for colon cancer, which was higher than that of the average U.S. citizen (64.9%).

HealthDay News–Privileged White U.S. citizens have better health outcomes than average U.S. citizens for several health outcomes, but health outcomes are not always better than those in other developed countries, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared health outcomes of White U.S. citizens living in the 1% and 5% highest-income counties in the United States with residents in 12 other developed countries.

The researchers found that the infant mortality rate was 4.01 per 1,000, and the maternal mortality rate was 10.85 per 100,000 among White U.S. citizens in the 5% highest-income counties, which were both higher than the mean rates for any of the comparison countries. For White U.S. citizens in the 5% percent highest-income counties, the 5-year survival rate was 67.2% for colon cancer, which was higher than that of the average U.S. citizen (64.9%), and higher, comparable, and lower than that of average citizens in 6, 4, and 2 comparison countries, respectively. For White children with acute lymphocytic leukemia in the 5% highest-income counties, the 5-year survival rate was 92.6%, which was higher and comparable to 1 and 11 comparison countries, respectively.

“Being able to use social and financial capital in the United States to buy the best health care is not necessarily associated with the world’s best health outcomes,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and health insurance industries.

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