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Neighborhood, Education, Race, And Ethnicity Affect Health

(March 2008) Almost 17 percent of black children and 20.5 percent of Latino children in the United States live in both poor families and poor neighborhoods, according to research released in the March/April issue of Health Affairs Journal. In contrast, only 1.4 percent of white children live in double jeopardy. The study was made possible by a Research Enabling Grant from the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard University, as well as funding for DiversityData.org from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute. These disparities arise from high levels of residential segregation and have implications for health and well-being in childhood and throughout life.

“Research starkly points out that there are two different worlds for America’s children and that white children — even the poorest white children — are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods rich with opportunity,” said lead author of the research Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Health disparities are rooted in social factors, such as residential segregation and an unequal geography of opportunity, and have had a paralyzing effect on the public health community,” she further stated.

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