The health status of minority populations in the United States.
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There is increasing national recognition that while our nation's health care system is the most expensive in the world, the health care status of Americans overall ranks poorly compared with other Western, industrialized nations. In the United States we tend to look at minority-majority variations of health status, as well as the variations of many other indicators by race or ethnicity, because race and ethnicity are particularly important components of our society. In general, health status indicators of minority Americans are worse than those of whites. In some locales, death rates of minority Americans are comparable to those of Third World nations. At the same time, minority Americans make up a rapidly increasing proportion of the nation's population and work force. Our baseline national data on some minority groups, however, currently are inadequate to detect shifts in health status. Finally, the rapidly expanding problem of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome among some minority populations provides both an imperative and an opportunity to learn how model prevention programs should be designed and executed.