Current Health Status of Hispanic or Latino Population of the USA
A Hispanic or Latino (H/L) person can be defined as “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015, para. 1). According to CDC (2015), the US H/L people comprise about 17% of the whole country’s population which makes this minority group the most populous one of the US (para. 6). For H/L population, the leading causes of death include cancer, heart diseases, unintentional injuries, stroke, and diabetes (CDC, 2012, para. 12). However, it should be pointed out that significant disparities exist between H/L and other groups of the US population in the respect of health and healthcare.
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Socioeconomic Disparities and Their Impact on the Health of the Group
In 2010, a bigger percentage of H/L adults had not completed high school, had the income below the poverty level, and had been unemployed or employed in high-risk occupations as compared to the country’s white population (CDC, 2012, para. 27-29; Dominguez et al., 2015, 460). It is not difficult to deduce that, as a result, medical care becomes less affordable for this minority group. Apart from that, the educational disparity seems to produce another problem which can be described as the fear and lack of awareness concerning health conditions and medical aid that have been shown as characteristic of H/L population (Wang, Moehring, Stuhr & Krug, 2013, p. 223). The examples of the consequences of this socioeconomic disparity may include the following facts: H/L are less willing to participate in certain kinds of screening (for example, colorectal cancer screening), and are less likely to have control of their blood pressure or to be vaccinated against influenza than non-Hispanic people (CDC, 2012, para. 23-25; US National Center for Health Statistics, 2013, p. 14).
At the same time, a phenomenon called Hispanic health paradox exists (Schneiderman, Chirinos, Avilés-Santa & Heiss, 2014). According to the US National Center for Health Statistics (2013), in “2010, Hispanic males and females had longer life expectancy at birth than non-Hispanic white or non-Hispanic black males and females” (p. 8). It should be pointed out, however, that one of the explanations of the health paradox includes the high level of heterogeneity of this minority group (Schneiderman et al., 2014, p. 259). The statistics demonstrated above and below prove that despite the paradox the health of H/L population needs to be addressed with utmost care.
As of 2013, the death rates for a number of leading causes of death (including cerebrovascular diseases and heart diseases) is lower among H/L population than among white people. At the same time, H/L have “higher death rates from diabetes (51% higher), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (48%), essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (8%), and homicide (96%) and higher prevalence of diabetes (133%) and obesity (23%) compared with whites” (Dominguez et al., 2015, 473).
An important feature of H/L population is the percentage of people lacking health insurance: in 2013, it amounted to 41.5% while for white people the number was 15.1% in the same year (Dominguez et al., 2015, p. 460). It appears that this is one of the main risk factors, and governmental efforts should be directed at rectifying the situation.
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention within the Group
The Definitions. The Three Levels
Health promotion and disease prevention (sometimes abbreviated as HP/DP) is “the aggregate of all purposeful activities designed to improve personal and public health” (Miller, 2011, 434). In fact, it is concerned with all the aspects of a community’s health care which is reflected in the three levels of disease prevention. The primary level is aimed at preventing the problems from occurring while the secondary and the tertiary levels are concerned with the early and late stages of a disease. The screening procedures are a part of secondary level prevention while the tertiary one is mostly concerned with improving the quality of patients’ life (Miller, 2011, p. 369). An example concerning the diabetes risks of US H/L population could include: the promotion of healthy lifestyle as a method of the primary level, blood screenings as an element of the secondary one, and proper recommendations concerning diabetics’ health for the patients and their family as a feature of the tertiary one.
World Health Organization (2015) suggests an integrated approach to health promotion, particularly in the case of chronic diseases that are among the most common causes of death for H/L population of the US. This approach includes the risk-factor one; but it also extends and integrates this view into the system of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention (World Health Organization, 2015, para. 2). Apart from that, the integration of different sectors and discipline is also required for this approach; in short, it demands comprehensive and all-encompassing strategies that are especially suitable for a major program of health promotion within such a large sector of US population.
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It should be pointed out that the socioeconomic factors play a particularly important role as a barrier to the health promotion of the group. The risks associated with poor education and awareness seem to be among those that can and should be addressed on every level of HP/DP. The necessity to communicate the relevant and accurate information to the group with concern to its cultural and other peculiarities has been acknowledged by the National Institutes of Health, and studies aimed at accomplishing this task are being carried out (Schneiderman et al., 2014).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Minority Health: Hispanic or Latino Populations. Web.
Dominguez, K., Penman-Aguilar, A., Chang, M., Moonesinghe, R., Castellanos, T., Rodriguez-Lainz, A., & Schieber, R. (2015). Vital Signs: Leading Causes of Death, Prevalence of Diseases and Risk Factors, and Use of Health Services Among Hispanics in the United States — 2009–2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 64(17), 469-478. Web.
Miller, R. (2011). Epidemiology for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Professionals. New York, NY: Routledge.
Schneiderman, N., Chirinos, D., Avilés-Santa, M., & Heiss, G. (2014). Challenges in Preventing Heart Disease in Hispanics: Early Lessons Learned from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 57(3), 253-261. Web.
US National Center for Health Statistics. (2013). Health, United States, 2012: With Special Feature on Emergency Care. Web.
Wang, J., Moehring, J., Stuhr, S., & Krug, M. (2013). Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening in Hispanics in the United States: An Integrative Review. Applied Nursing Research, 26(4), 218-224. Web.
World Health Organization. (2015). Chronic diseases and health promotion: Integrated chronic disease prevention and control. Web.