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Health Disparities Arise due to Location more so than Race

Update Date: Jul 18, 2014 01:36 PM EDT

Based on several reports, researchers have concluded that health disparities exist between races. However, according to a new study, researchers found that residential location affects the level of medical care that people receive more so than race.

For this study, the researchers conducted in-person interviews and surveys on 949 adults with hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. The adults were all over the age of 20 and lived in integrated communities in southwest Baltimore, MD. The sample was made up of 60 percent black people and 40 percent non-Hispanic white people.

The researchers found that in this integrated, low-income urban community, black and white people received similar treatments and management care for their hypertension. Despite getting similar kinds of medical care, the researchers found that black residents were more likely to be aware of their hypertension, which meant that their doctors had diagnosed them.

"This is partially a result of the high rates of uncontrolled hypertension among Whites in the sample," lead author Roland J. Thorpe, Jr., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Society, and Director of Program for Research on Men's Health in the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said. "The health profile of Whites (in the sample) was just as bad as or worse than African Americans."

Patrick McBride, M.D., Ph.D., assistant director of preventive cardiology, professor of medicine and family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, added according to Medical Xpress, "Social context is vital in understanding health care, especially prevention. In my experience, people who have lower socioeconomic standing, lower educational achievement, and less access to health care are less aware of high blood pressure and other health issues, regardless of race or ethnicity

The study, "Racial Disparities In Hypertension Awareness And Management: Are There Differences Among African Americans And Whites Living Under Similar Social Conditions?" was published in Ethnicity & Disease.

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