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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
November 19, 2008

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Self-Rated Health Status Among Adults With and Without Disabilities—United States, 2004—2006

JAMA. 2008;300(19):2240-2241. doi:10.1001/jama.300.19.2240

MMWR. 2008;57:1069-1073

2 tables omitted

Self-rated health status has been found to be an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality,1 and racial/ethnic disparities in self-rated health status persist among the U.S. adult population.2 Black and Hispanic adults are more likely to report their general health status as fair or poor compared with white adults.2 In addition, the prevalence of disability has been shown to be higher among blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs).3 To estimate differences in self-rated health status by race/ethnicity and disability, CDC analyzed data from the 2004—2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that the prevalence of disability among U.S. adults ranged from 11.6% among Asians to 29.9% among AI/ANs. Within each racial/ethnic population, adults with a disability were more likely to report fair or poor health than adults without a disability, with differences ranging from 16.8 percentage points among Asians to 37.9 percentage points among AI/ANs. Efforts to reduce racial/ethnic health disparities should explicitly include strategies to improve the health and well being of persons with disabilities within each racial/ethnic population.