Fast Five Quiz: Social Disparities in Healthcare

Arthur L. Caplan, PhD


November 24, 2020

Adults with disabilities have often been overlooked in public health surveys, data analyses, and health reports, making it difficult to improve awareness about their health status and existing disparities. Emerging data now show that individuals with disabilities, as a group, experience health disparities in routine public health arenas, such as health behaviors, clinical preventive services, and chronic conditions. For example, although they have higher rates of chronic diseases than the general population, adults with disabilities are significantly less likely to receive preventive care, including routine cancer screenings and dental cleanings, than are those without disabilities.

At the same time, adults with disabilities are more likely to engage in behaviors that place their health at risk, such as smoking and inadequate physical activity, and they are at increased risk for obesity and hypertension, as well as fall-related injuries and mood disorders, including depression.

Adults with disabilities are also four times as likely as those without disabilities to report their health to be fair or poor (40.3% vs 9.9%, respectively).

Learn more about disability and healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.