Updated on: 07/18/2022


Chronic Diseases

The conditions in which people live lead some populations to be inequitably impacted by chronic diseases.

Note: Hispanic is used to reflect current data collection practices. We acknowledge this may not be the preferred term. Throughout this report, NH refers to Non-Hispanic. People of color refers to individuals identifying as Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Other. Unless otherwise noted, adults are ages 18+. Data are most recently available for the specified data source.

Chronic diseases contribute to 56% of mortality in MA. Chronic diseases include cancer, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease. The most predictive risk factors for developing chronic diseases are: poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and tobacco use and exposure. While historically these risk factors were considered dependent on personal choices, we now understand that the conditions in which people live, learn, work, and play do not offer equal access or opportunity to make this possible.21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 As a result, some populations, including Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents, low-income residents, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) residents, experience inequitable health outcomes. Learn more about chronic disease data.

Incidence of All Cancers (2014-2018)

White females have the highest incidence rate for all cancer types combined, significantly higher than other female race/ethnicity groups. Black males and White males have the highest age-adjusted incidence rates of all cancer types combined, significantly higher than Asian or Hispanic males.

Analysis of 2014-2018 data in aggregate. Statistically significant where alpha = 0.05. Age- adjusted rates were calculated using the 2000 U.S. Standard Population. For more information see Cancer Incidence and Mortality in MA

Diabetes ED Visits (2018-2019)

Blacks and Hispanics have significantly higher ED visit rates for diabetes

ED refers to Emergency Department. Data includes the diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition, drug or chemical-induced diabetes mellitus, type 1 diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and other specified diabetes mellitus.

Analysis of 2018-2019 data in aggregate. Statistically significant where alpha = 0.05. Age-adjusted rates were calculated using the 2010 U.S. Standard Population.

Data from the Massachusetts Emergency Visits Discharge Database courtesy of CHIA.

Asthma Hospitalizations (2018-2019)

Blacks and Hispanics have significantly higher hospitalization rates for asthma.

Analysis of 2018-2019 data in aggregate. Statistically significant where alpha = 0.05. Age-adjusted rates were calculated using the 2010 U.S. Standard Population.

Data from the Massachusetts Hospitalization Discharge Database courtesy of CHIA.

Download the raw data (accessible version) used to create these visualizations.

21 Heynen, N., Perkins, H., & Roy, P. (2006). The Political Ecology of Uneven Urban Green Space: The Impact of Political Economy on Race and Ethnicity in Producing Environmental Inequality in Milwaukee. Urban Affairs Review, 42.1, 3-25. DOI: 10.1177/1078087406290729

22 Blanck, H., Allen, D., Bashir, Z., Gordon, N., Goodman, A., Merriam, D., & Rutt, C. (2012). Let’s Go to the Park Today: The Role of Parks in Obesity Prevention and Improving the Public’s Health. Childhood Obesity, 8(5). DOI: 10.1089/chi.2012.0085.blan

23 Dai, D. (2011). Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Urban Green Space Accessibility: Where to Intervene? Landscape and Urban Planning, 102(4), 234-244. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.05.002.

24 Treuhaft, S. & Karpyn, A. (1st edition). (2015). The Grocery Gap Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters. Retrieved from http://thefoodtrust.org/uploads/media_items/grocerygap.original.pdf

25 Morland, L. & Filomena, S. (2007). Disparities in the Availability of Fruits and Vegetables Between Racially Segregated Urban Neighbourhoods. Public Health Nutrition, 10(12), 1481-1489. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17582241

26 Nobrega, S., Champagne, N., Abreu, M., Goldstein-Gelb, M., Montano, M., Lopez, I., Arevalo, J., Bruce, S., Punnett, L. (2016) Obesity/Overweight and the Role of Working Conditions: A Qualitative, Participatory Investigation. Health Promotion Practice, 17(1), 127-136. DOI: 10.1177/1524839915602439

Indicator selection

This report gathered equity metrics found throughout DPH published data reports in one common location. When choosing the indicators to feature in this dashboard, we focused on publicly available data and the State Health Assessment (SHA) priority indicators. In some instances proxy measures were used if race/ethnicity data were limited (e.g. Hepatitis B Vaccinations Rates in place of Viral Hepatitis Prevalence Rates). Only indicators that had sufficient data for breakdowns by race/ethnicity were included.

Time-frame for Data Shown

In all cases, the most recent data for each indicator are incorporated. For some topics (e.g. hospitalizations for various causes), only older data are available by race/ethnicity. However, the goal of this dashboard is to capture the current experiences of this priority population. As such, the years of data presented are different for each chart; we opted for the most recent data available over using the same (older) year across all indicators in the report

Race/Ethnicity Group Definition and Data Collection

This report presents race/ethnicity data as it is collected and defined by each source. DPH complies with the the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standards and have adapted the recommendations to capture this information. We acknowledge that the race/ethnicity breakdowns presented here may not reflect each group's preferred terms. We recognize that race groups are not monolithic. Grouping into larger categories (e.g. Asian) and grouping Hispanic separately (e.g. Black and Hispanic is not a category in this report) is problematic and may not fully capture the experiences specific groups have. Data on language and disability status are not reflected in this version of the report but we plan to include these in future versions. Detailed information on the specific race/ethnicity group definitions and data collection practices can be found using the links to data sources provided for each chart. The DPH Race/Ethnicity/Language Data Standards Guide provides information on current department wide minimum compliance for collecting, defining, and reporting this information.

Data Suppression

For some charts, race/ethnicity groups may not be shown. This varies by data source and reflects insufficient sample size to support reliable estimates or suppression to protect residents privacy. For more information on the DPH suppression guidelines, please see the Department of Public Health Confidentiality Procedures.

Current Analysis

Unless otherwise noted, the differences between race/ethnicity groups in this report are based on descriptive observations (i.e. estimates are higher or lower than others) and key findings for the data shown in charts do not represent statistically significant differences. Any language that indicates statistical significance is taken directly from reports that have performed these analyses separately from this dashboard. For more information on how analyses were performed and definitions for significance, please see the data source notes provided for each chart.

CI refers to Confidence Interval (if available), which describes the certainty of a value. The Department of Public Health uses a 95% confidence interval.

Future Plans

This initial report focuses on communities of color. Additional dashboards on the other priority populations will be created. We also plan to expand dashboard contents including adding more indicators, updating data currently included, and incorporating intersectionality of populations (e.g. data by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity).

Visual representations of statistical significance and additional analytics to compare differences between groups will also be incorporated.