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Health Disparities


HEALTH DISPARITIES FOR LATINOS IN THE UNITED STATES

As defined by the National Institutes of Health1, health disparities are "differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States." As with other minority groups, data analysis has shown that Latinos are experiencing significant health disparities. Examples of these disparities include, but are not limited to the following:

  • According to a 1999 report of the Centers for Disease Control, Hispanics were diagnosed with diabetes at a rate twice that of white Americans. 2
  • Although African Americans and Hispanics represented an estimated 25 percent of the total U.S. population in 1998, 55 percent of the reported AIDS cases occurred among these two population groups. 3
  • Hispanics have higher incidence and higher mortality rates due to cancer of the stomach, of the liver, and of the cervix than non-Hispanic whites. 4
  • About 30 percent of Hispanic and 20 percent of black Americans lack a usual source of health care compared with less than 16 percent of whites. 5
  • Hispanic children are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic white children to have no usual source of health care. 6
  • The length of time between an abnormal screening mammogram and the follow-up diagnostic test to determine whether a woman has breast cancer is more than twice as long for Asian American, black, and Hispanic women as for white women. 7
  • Among preschool children hospitalized for asthma, only seven percent of black Americans and two percent of Hispanic children, compared with 21 percent of white children, are prescribed routine medications to prevent future asthma-related hospitalizations. 8
  • In 1994, Hispanics were twice as likely to have tuberculosis as the total population. 9

1 Website for the NIH Addressing Health Disparities Program of Action. http://healthdisparities.nih.gov/whatare.html.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Press Release. "CDC Reports Hispanics are Diagnosed with Diabetes at Twice the Rate of Whites." January 15, 1999. http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r990115.htm.
3 Health Resources Services Administration. "Eliminating Health Disparities in the United States." November, 2000.
4 American Cancer Society. "Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics 2000-2001." http://www.cancer.org/eprise/main/docroot/stt/stt_0.
5 Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Fact Sheet, February 2000. AHRQ Publication No. 00-PO41. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/disparit.htm.
6 Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Fact Sheet, February 2000. AHRQ Publication No. 00-PO41. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/disparit.htm.
7 Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Fact Sheet, February 2000. AHRQ Publication No. 00-PO41. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/disparit.htm.
8 Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Fact Sheet, February 2000. AHRQ Publication No. 00-PO41. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/disparit.htm.
9 Public Health Service. Healthy People 2000 Progress Review for Hispanic Americans. April 29, 1997. http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/pubs/hp2000/PROGRVW/Hispanics/HispanicAm.htm.