Co-morbidity and black and white disparities in health and functional status
Human capital includes health. To reduce health disparities, Public Law 106-525 established the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHHD), which targets individual diseases. However, differences in patterns of co-occurring conditions among demographic groups are important for explaining individual disease intergroup health disparities. We analyzed black and white disparities in grade of membership in 12 dimensions defined by patterns of co-occurring conditions. Results suggest expanding NCMHHD targets to include mental health conditions; conditions co-morbid with diabetes mellitus; and the co-occurrence of cardiovascular illnesses, stroke and interactions with other serious conditions. The health scores can be used in econometric models.