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Book and Media Reviews
May 26, 2010

Cardiovascular Disease in Racial and Ethnic Minorities

JAMA. 2010;303(20):2084-2085. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.679

In this timely multiauthored text, the issues of racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease are presented from a variety of perspectives: epidemiologic, genetic, clinical, and sociopolitical. The stated goal “to fully appreciate the significant interaction between environment, culture, social and economic status, and politics that impact the health of each individual in our society” resounds in this time of national health care debate and reform. Differences in health status across racial and ethnic groups have been documented in the United States and elsewhere but are widely acknowledged to be limited by inadequate measurement of race and ethnicity. Further limitations include the confounding role that socioeconomic inequalities may play. Nor does the focus on race and ethnicity give adequate attention to such issues as geography, lifestyle choices, and psychological profile. Despite these inherent flaws, compelling data do exist that suggest the pervasiveness of racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular health and health care outcomes.