Disparities embedded in nation's health care

Nov. 27—New research suggests that cardiac arrest deaths are actually decreasing in most of the rest of the country; but Black and rural communities are not experiencing the same change.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and adjusting the statistics for age, researchers found a steady overall drop of more than 40 percent in the rate of cardiac arrest deaths, from 7.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to 4.4 in 2020.

But that same research showed Black people were the only minority group that didn't experience a significant drop in cardiac arrest deaths, averaging 8.7 deaths per 100,000 during the study. And the cardiac arrest death rate in rural areas (8.1) was more than twice as high as it was in big cities (3.5).

We've got to do a better job taking care of our own health. Eating right, breaking bad habits and exercising more can seem daunting. But given the price we'll pay if we do not make the socio-cultural changes necessary to reverse this trend, there really is no other option.

Sure, there is work to be done on the policy front as well. We've learned by now, however, that we can't count on that.

If there's work to be done — and there is — we're going to have to do it ourselves.