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African-American men at highest risk for mortality: Study

19 July 2016 21:07

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African-American men who live below the poverty line have the greatest mortality risk of any ethnic group in the US, according to new research.

Black men living in poverty had about a 2.7 times higher chance of mortality compared with black men living above it, said the study from the National Institute on Aging and published on Monday in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

White men who lived below poverty level had approximately the same risk as white men above, the study found.

In 2016, the federal poverty line was $24,300 for a family of four. Researchers defined poverty levels as below 125 percent of the US federal poverty guidelines.

“What’s surprising is the magnitude of the difference,” said coauthor Alan Zonderman, a researcher at the National Institute on Aging.

The researchers view the marginalization of black men in American society as a main reason behind the higher mortality rate.

African-American men are often excluded from many benefits such as medical care, that could decrease their risk of death, Zonderman said.

“A lack of access to medical care, especially to specialists, and an inability to receive healthcare, even under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), both contribute to this marginalization,” Zonderman said.

Zonderman noted that this marginalization has led African Americans to have distrust in medical institutions and complain that they are not treated very well by healthcare professionals.

During an ABC town hall meeting last week, US President Barack Obama spoke of racism experienced during his youth, including getting pulled over by police.

US Senator Tim Scott, a black Republican from South Carolina, discussed his own experiences with racism in a speech on the Senate floor last week.

The lawmaker described how he was unjustly pulled over by officers, accused of driving a stolen automobile and having his status as a senator questioned because he is African American.

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