Health Equity

Academy Issue Brief: Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and Chronic Disease

The most recent U.S. Census reports that approximately 40 percent of the U.S. population belong to a racial or ethnic minority group. Many minority populations in the United States have long faced chronic disease health disparities due to socioeconomic inequities, barriers to education, systemic racism, insufficient access to health care including medical nutrition therapy and related services, as well as limited access to healthful and affordable foods and safe places to be active.

The Academy's "Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and Chronic Disease" issue brief examines these inequities and how they contribute to racial disparities in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, some cancers and obesity. The document serves as the foundation for the Academy's policy efforts as they relate to diversity and health equity.

The Academy recognizes that it is essential to address the root causes of health inequities by examining the social determinants of health that play a role in the etiology and amplification of chronic health disparities. These root causes of health disparities must be addressed to achieve health equity.

This issue brief features input from stakeholders including the leadership and members of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and was approved by members of the Academy's Legislative and Public Policy Committee.

View the Issue Brief