Racial/ethnic differences in obesity and comorbidities between safety-net- and non safety-net integrated health systems.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Medicine, Volume 96, Issue 11, p.e6326 (2017)


Previous research shows that patients in integrated health systems experience fewer racial disparities compared with more traditional healthcare systems. Little is known about patterns of racial/ethnic disparities between safety-net and non safety-net integrated health systems.We evaluated racial/ethnic differences in body mass index (BMI) and the Charlson comorbidity index from 3 non safety-net- and 1 safety-net integrated health systems in a cross-sectional study. Multinomial logistic regression modeled comorbidity and BMI on race/ethnicity and health care system type adjusting for age, sex, insurance, and zip-code-level incomeThe study included 1.38 million patients. Higher proportions of safety-net versus non safety-net patients had comorbidity score of 3+ (11.1% vs. 5.0%) and BMI ≥35 (27.7% vs. 15.8%). In both types of systems, blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to have higher BMIs. Whites were more likely than blacks or Hispanics to have higher comorbidity scores in a safety net system, but less likely to have higher scores in the non safety-nets. The odds of comorbidity score 3+ and BMI 35+ in blacks relative to whites were significantly lower in safety-net than in non safety-net settings.Racial/ethnic differences were present within both safety-net and non safety-net integrated health systems, but patterns differed. Understanding patterns of racial/ethnic differences in health outcomes in safety-net and non safety-net integrated health systems is important to tailor interventions to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care.