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August 1, 1990

The Excess Mortality of Black Adults in the United States

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

JAMA. 1990;264(5):571-572. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450050029015

To the Editor.—  I read with great interest the article by Otten et al1 on the effect of risk factors on the excess mortality of black adults. I was encouraged by the point made that family income and risk factors were interdependent and by the closing statement, "While programs are developed to target the remediable excess mortality, investigations will need to continue to identify intervenable factors associated with income and to study social and health system factors not included in this study."I was, however, disappointed by the income measures used, for two reasons: first, the family income data used were outdated, and second, they probably differentially represent the economic well-being of blacks and whites during the period of study (1971 to 1984).The family income information used in the study represents estimates of family income of respondents from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES