Low levels of education and poverty among African Americans in St. Louis cost the region $3.3 billion in lost life, according to a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Closing the gaps could save $27 million in mental health care costs and $65 million for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer care, the report found.
The multidisciplinary study, “For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis”, was released on May 30 by researchers from the Brown School and Saint Louis University.
The report shows how disparities in resources affect life expectancy, which ranges from 67 years in the poorest parts of the city to 85 years in wealthier suburbs.
“It’s an issue that impacts everyone,” said Dr. Jason Q. Purnell, assistant professor at the Brown School and lead researcher on the project. “These disparities are costing our community, and using money that could be used to help create jobs and advance the economic vitality of our region.”
The report recommends: Investing in quality early-childhood development for all children; helping low- to moderate-income families create economic opportunities; investing in coordinated school-health programs for all students; investing in mental-health awareness, screening, treatment, and surveillance; investing in quality neighborhoods; coordinating and expanding chronic and infectious disease prevention and management.
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