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STEM program observational study maps observed disparities in Delaware’s obesity-related mortality rates

Posted November 20th, 2019 at 10:42am

The article appeared in the November 2019 issue of Research in Health Science. This observational study of Delaware’s mortality rates shows that obesity and obesity-related diseases are disrupting the average Delawarean lifespan. From 1999-to-2017 Delaware’s obesity rate mushroomed by 81.7% and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) death records disclosed a 60.53% increase in crude Delawarean mortality rate when obesity was listed as a single underlying cause of death. However, when any mention of obesity was documented on the CDC death record, Delaware’s crude mortality rate rose by 75.69%. Likewise, except for one year, Delaware’s African American/Black population experienced higher crude mortality rate averages.

Diabetes, circulatory system diseases, and neoplasms (cancer), are three common obesity comorbidities. For these three conditions, Delaware’s 1999-2017 mortality rate figures mimic the falling national patterns of mortality rate averages, when each disease is listed as the single underlying cause of death, including observations where there are disproportionate numbers of cases that affect the African American/Black race.

Dr. Malcolm J. D’Souza, Riza C. Li, and Dr. Derald E. Wentzien are co-authors on this study and acknowledge grant support from an IDeA award from the NIH-NIGMS DE-INBRE program, an NSF-EPSCoR (WiCCED, DE-EPSCoR) award, the Wesley College Cannon Scholar program, the NASA Delaware Space Grant Consortium, and the State of Delaware. The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of any of the federal and state funding agencies. Riza C. Li is a Wesley College 2016 summa cum laude graduate in mathematics. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Delaware.