A new study is sounding off on the glaring health disparities that Black Americans continue to face.

Published in the medical journal JAMA, the study points out that after a period of progress in addressing these disparities, improvements have stalled.

Researchers discovered that over a 22-year period from 1999 to 2020, the Black population in the United States experienced more than 1.63 million excess deaths. They also found over 80 million excess years of life lost compared to the White population.

“Heart disease had the highest excess mortality rates, and the excess years of potential life lost rates were largest among infants and middle-aged adults,” the study detailed

Black Women and Pregnancy Mortality

The JAMA study is coupled with continued studies and research exploring Black women pregnancy mortality rates. For Black women, various pregnancy complications have remained a leading issue effecting the health disparity experience.

Studies have consistently shown that the number of women who die during or shortly after childbirth is significantly higher in the U.S. That’s compared to other developed nations, with Black women disproportionately affected.

A recent CDC study released in March detailed that maternity death rates increased greatly in 2021. The findings were across different age groups and races. But the rate was much higher among Black women than any other racial group. The Black maternal death rate in 2021 was 69.9 per 100,000, making it 2.6 times higher than the rate for White women.

The latest JAMA study is yet again sparking conversations around the increased need to improve access to quality prenatal care. That could be accomplished in part by promoting culturally competent and patient-centered healthcare practices. As well as addressing the underlying social determinants of health that contribute to disparities.

The study authors directly called for the more studies using data from other racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Doing so would offer a more complete understanding of mortality inequities in the U.S. according to the authors.