Many Don’t See Link Between Racism, Health Outcomes

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Many Americans hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic don’t believe racism is associated with poorer health, according to a national poll.

The current survey of more than 4,000 low- and middle-income Americans focuses on communities of color.

“It really struck us that – despite the virus spreading across the country to all types of communities – there is no consensus on the effects of systemic racism,” said lead author Katherine Grace Carman, Senior Economist at RAND Corporation. RAND is conducting the survey, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Respondents see the impact of low income and living in a rural community on a person’s health, but race is not viewed with the same severity,” she said in a statement. Robert Wood Johnson’s press release. More than 42% of those surveyed say systemic racism is one of the main reasons people of color are less healthy. About a third disagree and about a quarter are neutral.

Black respondents are much more likely (69.4%) than whites (33.2%) to believe that systemic racism affects the health of people of color, according to the survey.

Overall, pollsters found a slight increase in respondents’ willingness to risk their own health in order to return to pre-pandemic “normal”. But black or Hispanic respondents are more likely (68.5%) to be cautious about taking health risks to move around freely than white respondents (53.4%).

More than 70% of those polled see the pandemic as a time for positive change, such as expanding access to health care and reducing income inequalities. Rates are slightly higher among black or Hispanic respondents (72.5%) than among whites (69.3%).

Almost two-thirds of respondents say the government should guarantee healthcare as a basic right, but white respondents are less likely (60.4%) than all other races / ethnicities (74.1%) to have it. support.

More than two-thirds (68%) of blacks surveyed say they have less confidence in the government, compared to 53.6% of Hispanics and 52.4% of whites.

Continued

The survey tracks the same 4,000 people over time, and those results were the second of four expected reports. The next one is due out in spring 2021.

Carman said political leaders need to understand that much more needs to be done to educate people about the root causes of inequalities and then to ensure better health for all.

Brian Quinn, Associate Vice President of the Research-Evaluation-Learning Unit of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, presented a similar point of view.

“We share the respondents’ demand for better access to healthcare and also advocate for policies that can help economically, such as safe and affordable housing, access to healthy food and ‘access to paid jobs for a living, “he said in the statement.

More information

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

SOURCE: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, press release, January 13, 2021

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