Study finds wide-ranging health gaps among black, Latino and white 5th graders

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The study found minority kids were more likely to witness gun violence, suffer from obesity and experience any form of discrimination.

A national study of 5,119 randomly-selected 5th graders who attend public schools in Los Angeles, Birmingham and Houston turned up wide-ranging health gaps among them.

The study, led by Boston Children's Hospital researchers and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined 16 measurements of physical and psychological health, including alcohol and cigarette consumption, obesity, peer victimization and exposure to violence.

They then compared the differences among black, Latino and white children.

Among their findings:

  • Black children were four times more likely and Latino kids twice as likely to witness gun violence than were white children

  • Latino and black children were twice as likely to suffer from obesity than were white kids

  • Latinos and blacks were less likely than white children to wear seatbelts or bike helmets

  • Black and Latino children were more likely to experience discrimination (for reasons beyond race, including weight and income

Overall, white children fared better than black and Latino children in nearly every category. But the children of all races did better and the disparities among them shrunk significantly if they had more highly-educated parents with higher incomes.

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