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B. The Life Expectancy Gap Between Races and Education Levels

Narrator: This is Science Today. For the first time, researchers have identified and ranked diseases that contribute most to the life expectancy gap between races and education levels. Mitchell Wong, an assistant professor of medicine at UCLA, led the study.

Wong: We did a comparison looking at blacks and whites and we also compared those who had more education versus those who had less education. We found that the diseases that contributed most to the black-white disparity were hypertension, number one, followed by HIV and then followed by diabetes and homicide. When you compare those who have less or more education, all the diseases that contributed most were actually smoking-related diseases.

Narrator: While previous studies confirmed there were racial and educational disparities, Wong says this study identified how much of a difference there was and then ranked the different diseases.

Wong: We think the implications for this really are on a public health level, perhaps at a governmental level we could say, well these are the areas that we should really be focusing more resources on.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.