Newly Released Statistics Assess the Health Status of U.S. Latinos

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

America’s Healthcare Rankings, the nation’s annual health data analysis, published its 24th comprehensive report, compiling perspectives on the country’s health progress and obstacles, national and state-to-state-rankings, observations by healthcare professionals and scholars, as well as resources and tools.

The results reveal that the U.S., overall, has shown improvements in its health status, particularly in the indicators of smoking and physical inactivity. The smoking and physical inactivity rates amongst adults declined significantly, from 21.2 percent to 19.6 percent and from 26.2 percent to 22.9 percent respectively.

The obesity rate remained relatively the same at 27.6 percent of the entire adult population.

The state of Illinois retained its overall health ranking of 30 from last year. Still, the findings show that over 2.7 million adults in Illinois are obese and 2.1 million adults do not engage consistently in physical activity.

Latinos in the United States also reflected the trend of health improvements. The obesity rate amongst U.S. Latinos dropped slightly from 31 percent to 30.3 percent. The physical inactivity rate dropped from 30.6 percent to 28.5 percent.

Behaviors, community and environment, public health policies and clinical care are the core health status elements that figured into the rankings.

The analysis provided by America’s Healthcare Rankings identifies the strengths and challenges individuals and communities must address.

Diabetes is a condition that marks the Latino community, as Latinos are 1.7 times as more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-whites, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

Latino Health Solutions vice president Russ Bennett said curbing such health risks can be accomplished if individuals quit unhealthy eating habits, but government and community support initiatives must also be encouraged in order to help people adopt healthy lifestyles.

The story of such synergy between government officials and community leaders is recounted in a commentary made by San Antonio mayor Julian Castro in America’s Healthcare Rankings.

In 2010, Mayor Castro established the Fitness Council in San Antonio, which created awareness about the importance of good health and exercise. Teaming up with community organizations, the Fitness Council introduced positive health campaigns that engaged youth and adults.

Illinois’ Latino residents can follow the health campaigns spearheaded in San Antonio and create a culture of health consciousness in our neighborhoods.

“It’s critical for Latino community to understand their health and understand where we’re coming from as a nation…as a state,” Bennett said. “The more we understand as a Latino community, the better we’ll be able to address the health issues.”

Comments are closed.