Representing approximately 17.7% of the U.S. population, Hispanics and Latinos have significantly lower all-cause death rates compared with whites, despite a lack of health insurance and other socioeconomic barriers to care.
“Lower smoking rates among Hispanics, immigration of healthy immigrants, reverse migration of more ill or elderly immigrants, and higher levels of family support might help to explain this mortality advantage for some Hispanic origin groups,” the researchers wrote.
The CDC defined Hispanic or Latino as an individual from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South or Central America, or other Spanish culture/origin, regardless of whether the person was born in the U.S. or not.
To analyze the use of health care services, commonness of diseases, along with associated risk factors and leading causes of death among Hispanics, researchers evaluated data from four national data sets.
Results demonstrated that Hispanics had a 24% lower all-cause death rate compared with whites. Additionally, among leading causes of death in the U.S., Hispanics had a 28% lower rate of cancer deaths and a 25% lower rate of heart disease deaths compared with whites. Hispanics had a 133% higher rate of diabetes and a 23% higher rate of obesity, compared with whites.
Considerably higher rates were seen in Hispanics for death from diabetes (51%), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (48%) and homicide (96%) compared with whites.
Nearly 41.5% of Hispanics were without health insurance, compared with only 15.1% of whites.
Large discrepancies among Hispanic origins were seen for smoking rates, with 21.6% of Puerto Ricans smoking compared with only 9.2% of Central/South Americans. Significantly higher rates of obesity, hypertension, smoking, heart disease and cancer were seen in U.S. born Hispanics compared with those born internationally.
The researchers recommended that lay involving community health workers and providing Spanish-written health education materials and comprehensive, widely-accessible medical homes as vital steps in improving the health of the Hispanic population.
“Four out of 10 Hispanics die of heart disease or cancer. By not smoking and staying physically active, such as walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, Hispanics can reduce their risk for these chronic diseases and others such as diabetes,” Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press release. – by Casey Hower
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.