Two months ago, DataHaven released its health equity report for the state, revealing rising health care costs and disparities among race and class in fetal mortalities, gun-related deaths and health risks.
One of the data points shows that Black residents had mortality rates that were more than double those of white residents for chronic kidney disease and COVID-19. For cancer, heart disease and overdoses, their rates were higher than any other racial group.
Blacks had a heart disease mortality rate of 454 per 100,000 residents, white and Latino residents were near the state rate at above 300 per 100,000, and Asian residents were at 200 per 100,000.
The trends can be seen nationally as well. Studies published in the American Heart Association Journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that while cardiovascular and cancer mortality rates have dropped in the past two decades, disparities are still present between Black and white Americans.
All the while, per capita health care costs are up all across the board. DataHaven analyzed state-specific data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and found that hospital care and home and personal health per capita costs almost doubled since 1991.
Researchers last year attempted to see if there was a link between historical redlining and health outcomes, and they found that living in historically redlined areas is associated with “multiple adverse health outcomes including gunshot-related injuries, asthma, preterm birth, some cancer types, heat-related illnesses and chronic diseases when compared to those living in non-redlined areas," although they did not establish any causal relationship.
And while each cause of death requires specific solutions, the Connecticut Health Foundation has suggested expanding health care coverage, further supporting community health workers and implementing more robust and consistent data collection practices and clinical practice guidelines. In regards to cardiovascular health, a pair of interventional cardiologists argued in a study in 2014 that adhering to clinical practice guidelines can reduce disparities in patient care. They also point to diversifying the physician workforce.
Beyond addressing specific disparities, healthy eating habits can generally reduce the risk of heart problems too. Harvard researchers followed the health habits of about 200,000 health care professionals, tracking their eating habits, and found that those with more healthy habits were associated with lower risk for cardiovascular disease.