8 factors put Black adults at higher risk of early death

Disparities in eight areas of life critical to health and well-being entirely explain why Black adults who live in the United States have a 59% higher risk of early death than white adults, researchers report.

The factors are called social determinants of health. They include employment, income, food security, education level, access to health care, quality health insurance, home ownership, and marital status.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a CDC survey used to determine disease prevalence and risks across the country, the researchers modeled the impact of each factor on a person’s life expectancy. When all unfavorable social determinants were accounted for, the 59% mortality disparity was reduced to zero.

“It totally disappeared,” says Josh Bundy, an epidemiologist at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and lead author of the paper published in The Lancet Public Health. “There’s no difference between Black and white premature mortality rates after accounting for these social determinants.”

While the mortality gap has been largely pinned on socioeconomic factors such as education level, income, and employment status in recent years, researchers have acknowledged that these factors only explained most of the gap, Bundy says.

“This is the first time that anyone completely explained the differences,” Bundy says. “We didn’t expect that, and we were excited about that finding because it suggests social determinants should be the primary targets for eliminating health disparities.”

Socioeconomic factors were still found to play a major role, accounting for approximately 50% of the Black-white difference in mortality in the study.

However, the other nearly 50% of the difference was explained by marital status, food security, and whether someone has public or private health insurance, softer indicators that can speak to a person’s social support network, stability, or job quality.

Unfavorable social determinants of health were more common among Black adults and were found to carry enormous risk.

Having just one unfavorable social determinant of health was found to double a person’s chances of an early death. With six or more, a person has eight times higher risk of premature mortality.

Corresponding author Jiang He, chair of epidemiology, says these results “demonstrated that race-based health disparities are social, not biological, constructs.”

Bundy agrees, adding that the findings explain how “structural racism and discrimination lead to worse social risk factors, which may lead to premature death.”

“So how do we eliminate the structural differences between races?” Bundy says. “And regardless of race, if you have six or more of these factors, you’re at a really high risk. How do we address these issues for everyone?”

As a concept, social determinants of health is a relatively new framework being emphasized by the CDC’s Healthy People 2030 initiative.

Going forward, Bundy hopes the concept gains more traction and that policymakers use these findings to address the race-based mortality gap.

“These social determinants of health are the foundation of health problems,” Bundy says. “They need to be a top priority going forward and it’s going to take policy, research, and a multi-disciplinary approach to tackle these issues.”

Source: Tulane University


Georgia deck collapse during birthday celebration injures 9

Nine people were injured when a deck collapsed during a family’s Memorial Day weekend gathering in coastal Georgia.

Emergency crews rushed to the home in Midway, south of Savannah, and transported the victims to a nearby hospital, Liberty County Fire Chief Brian Darby told local news outlets.

Marc Barnett said his family had rented the home to celebrate his father’s 70th birthday. He said 12 or more people were standing on the second-floor deck Sunday evening when it gave way beneath their feet.


Georgia Fox News graphic

A deck that collapsed at a birthday celebration during a family’s Memorial Day weekend gathering injured nine people in Georgia.


“You had a feeling of freefall,” Barnett told WTOC-TV. “We all just landed in a pile on top of each other. It was nightmare scene to see a heap of people laying there helpless.”

Family members suffered cuts and fractures, he said, and those injured included a 1-year-old baby and a relative who is 90. Still, Barnett said he’s grateful no one was killed or seriously hurt.

“If somebody had been underneath this deck instead of on top of it, we would probably be planning a funeral right now,” Barnett said. “So we feel very blessed for that.”


The latest on the US debt ceiling deal

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) speaking during a news conference with the House Freedom Caucus on the debt limit negotiations at the U.S. Capitol Building on March 10.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) speaking during a news conference with the House Freedom Caucus on the debt limit negotiations at the U.S. Capitol Building on March 10. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Some Republicans are joining staunch opponent of the debt limit bill Rep. Chip Roy — who called the deal a “betrayal of the power-sharing arrangement that we put in place.”

Roy has threatened House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership role over the deal during an interview with Glenn Beck, saying that if the deal can’t be killed in rules or on the floor “Then we’re going to have to then regroup and figure out the whole leadership arrangement again.”

These comments were confirmed to CNN through his spokesperson.

“We will continue to fight it today, tomorrow, and no matter what happens, there’s going to be a reckoning about what just occurred, unless we stopped this bill by tomorrow,” Roy later told reporters in a noon Freedom Caucus news conference Tuesday.  

Here’s what other Republican lawmakers are saying:

Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Scott Perry slammed the bill, saying, “This deal fails, fails completely. And that’s why these members and others will be absolutely opposed to the deal and we will do everything in our power to stop it.” 

Rep. Andrew Clyde said, “I’m a hard no in this fiscally irresponsible insanity.”

Rep. Dan Bishop called the Wednesday vote “a career-defining” one. 

Bishop also sent a stark message to the GOP conference: “You are the key to our being able to reacquire the unity now. It’s going to take some steps, by the way, because the leadership decision to forfeit that is going to have to be dealt with.”

Rep. Byron Donalds called the bill “crap” and said, “This bill keeps the Biden baseline intact for the federal agencies.” 

“More and more Republicans as they read this bill are no’s,” Donalds added. 

Donalds also slammed the lack of border measures. “The least we could have done a secure the southern border. And we didn’t do that either.” 

Rep. Ralph Norman, a conservative who is also expected to oppose the debt limit deal and sits on the House Rules Committee, said he has lost “some trust” in McCarthy.

He said that the bill itself is a “violation” of the agreement reached with McCarthy in January to get him the votes to become Speaker.  

“McCarthy has lost some trust in how this has been handled,” said Norman. “I like Kevin, he’s done a good job to date. But I will tell you, this is an issue that we’re very upset about.” 

Sen. Mike Lee, a conservative Republican of Utah, slammed the debt ceiling agreement for giving more to Democrats than Republicans. 

“You will see this uniting Democrats in a way that it will not unite Republicans. You may, well, you’re likely to have more Democrats vote for this in both Chambers than Republicans,” Lee said in an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday. 

Lee said that Democrats seemingly got more out of the deal than Republicans did.

“There’s not a whole lot of give here if this is a quid pro quo … there’s a whole lot of quid and not much quo and we got kind of screwed here,” Lee said. 

He suggested that this deal may impact the 2024 presidential landscape, making it more difficult for a Republican to win. 

Last week Lee announced that he intended to “use every procedural tool at my disposal to impede a debt-ceiling deal that doesn’t contain substantial spending and budgetary reforms.”

Although Lee did not directly criticize McCarthy, he implied that he does not understand the full impact of the agreement.