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Study: Many say racial disparities genetic

HOUSTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A U.S. study reveals greater public support for reducing healthcare disparities among socio-economic groups -- income or education.

In the study, scheduled to be published in the Social Science Quarterly, people voiced strong concern about economic-based disparities and suggested government intervention would help to alleviate the imbalance.

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However, more than 60 percent say they believed the racially-based disparities -- primarily between African-Americans and Caucasians -- were a result of genetic differences that may cause chronic conditions or recurring diseases.

This perception led respondents to view racially-based disparities as less problematic and more resistant to government-based solutions, and to be less supportive of proposals aimed at eliminating health disparities, the researchers say.

Head researcher Elizabeth Rigby of the University of Houston, Joe Soss of the University of Minnesota, and Bridget C. Booske, Angela M. K. Rohan and Stephanie A. Robert, all of the University of Wisconsin-Madison say, on the whole, American health statistics point to stark differences in the well being and health among different social groups.

The fact that college graduates are expected to live at least five years longer than Americans who have not completed high school, and that African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be in fair or poor health, raises serious concerns, the researchers say.

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