What is Health Equity? What is a Health Disparity?

Rand, WV., With Much of its Population Living in Poverty, has Many Unpaved Roads, Substandard Houses, and Junked Automobiles, 1973, photo by Harry Schaefer

Rand, WV. 1973, "With Much of its Population Living in Poverty, has Many Unpaved Roads, Substandard Houses, and Junked Automobiles," photo by Harry Schaefer
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LOC 412-DA-8518

 

 

 

Health equity has been defined in many ways, but always refers to the opportunity for all to be healthy and make healthy choices. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally, and continually striving to address avoidable inequalities, injustices, and the elimination of health disparities.

Health disparities are health differences that are systematic, unfair, and avoidableHealth equity describes the world we want to see, and elimination of health disparities is one way to help us get there.

 

Further Reading

Hutchinson, R. N., & Shin, S. (2014). Systematic Review of Health Disparities for Cardiovascular Diseases and Associated Factors among American Indian and Alaska Native PopulationsPLoS ONE9(1), e80973.

Young, W., Karp, S., Bialick, P., et al. (2016). Health, Secondhand Smoke Exposure, and Smoking Behavior Impacts of No-Smoking Policies in Public Housing, Colorado, 2014–2015Preventing Chronic Disease13, E148.

Gray, S. C., Edwards, S. E., Schultz, B. D., & Miranda, M. L. (2014). Assessing the impact of race, social factors and air pollution on birth outcomes: a population-based studyEnvironmental Health13, 4.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.  Factors That Contribute to Health Disparities in Cancer.