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Research Letter
Sep 26, 2011

Black/White Racial Disparities in Health: A Cross-Country Comparison of Canada and the United States

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Health Policy, Bloomberg School of Public Health (Drs Lebrun and LaVeist) and Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions (Dr LaVeist), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(17):1591-1593. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.408

Research on health disparities in the United States has consistently reported poorer health outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities relative to whites, particularly among African Americans.1,2 In Canada, there are limited studies on racial/ethnic groups, presumably because of concerns about small samples, confidentiality, and an emphasis on socioeconomic inequalities.3 The body of literature regarding black Canadians, which compose 2.5% of the nation, is beginning to emerge.

The existing literature indicates that the burden of disease may be greater for black Canadians compared with their white counterparts, and that black Canadians face a number of barriers to achieving good health, including poverty, difficulty accessing health care, discrimination, and poor health behaviors.4-8