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Improvement in Race-Based Disparities in Years of Life Lost

Decline in race-based disparities in years of life lost seen in the United States from 1990 to 2014

THURSDAY, April 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) — From 1990 to 2014 there was a decrease in race-based disparities in years of life lost (YLL) in the United States, according to a study published online April 25 in PLOS ONE.

Jeanine M. Buchanich, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues categorized 60 million death reports from the National Center for Health Statistics by age, sex, race, and cause of death. Using age-specific life expectancies, YLL was calculated.

The researchers found that in 1990, the YLL was 21,103, 14,160, and 7,417 per 100,000 population for blacks, whites, and others, respectively. There was a 10 percent improvement in overall YLL between 1990 and 2014, with marked variations in the rate of change across age, race, and sex groups. Substantial improvement was seen in blacks (all ages, both sexes), with a 28 percent decline in YLL compared to whites (all ages, both sexes), who had a 4 percent reduction. Improvements were seen in all age groups among blacks, with decreases of 43, 48, 28, and 25 percent among infants, children, adults, and older adults, respectively. Reductions of 33, 44, and 18 percent were seen among white infants, children, and older adults; white adults had a 6 percent increase in YLL.

“Race-based disparities in YLL in the USA since 1990 have narrowed considerably, largely as a result of improvements among blacks compared to whites,” the authors write.

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