There’s a paradox to the health of Hispanics in America that federal researchers are struggling to solve: While they live longer than non-Hispanic whites — to age 83, versus 79 years, according to the U.S. Census — Hispanics also have higher incidences of weight gain, hypertension and diabetes, according to a study released Monday by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The wide-reaching Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, which included more than 4,000 participants from Miami-Dade among a total of 16,400 men and women, found varying levels of health awareness and treatment among different groups.
“One of the main goals of the study is to find out whether the longevity Hispanics enjoy can be maintained,” said Dr. Neil Schneiderman, a University of Miami professor of medicine, psychiatry and behavioral sciences who led the Miami field investigation.
The answer: Too soon to tell.
Among the Miami participants, men of Cuban background were the most aware of their hypertension and doing the most to control it. Yet Cuban descendants were among the least aware of their diabetes, along with Central and South Americans. Diabetes was least common among Miamians of South American backgrounds.
Hispanics make up 16 percent (or 50.5 million people) of the U.S. population, yet little is known about their health. That deficit triggered the NIH study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken in America. It includes for the first time people of many Hispanic backgrounds, representing the country’s diversity. Read more.