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New insights into Hispanic health released in largest-ever study

ImagesThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) today released the Hispanic Community Health Study Data Book, based on the largest, most comprehensive study ever conducted on Hispanic health in the U.S. Among the questions being addressed by the Hispanic Community Health Study/ Study of Latinos (SOL) are why Hispanics in the U.S. live longer than non-Hispanic whites (83 vs 79 years) and whether this trend will continue.

The NIH in conjunction with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health is also today releasing a report, About Our Health that will be distributed to the 16,415 men and women who participated in SOL, including 4,087 participants from Miami-Dade County.

According to Neil Schneiderman, the principal investigator for the University of Miami arm of the study, “Hispanics make up 16 percent of the US population, but we have only limited knowledge about their health. The results from this landmark study are providing information that will allow us to improve health in general as well as within Hispanic communities.”

UM researchers enrolled participants from Coral Gables, Hialeah, and Miami, primarily of Cuban (56%), Central American (25%), and South American (12%) descent. Among the trends found in the reports on Miami participants:

*Men of Cuban background were more aware of their hypertension and were controlling it better relative to other Hispanic groups.

*Individuals of Cuban, Central American and South American background were least aware of their diabetes.  
*The lowest percentage of Hispanics with diabetes was found among individuals of South American background.

*Hispanics of Central American background reported the lowest percentages of previous history of Coronary Heart Disease and COPD.

*The lowest percentage of smokers was found in individuals of Central American, South American, and Dominican background. 

*Among the different Hispanic groups almost half of participants of Cuban and South American backgrounds reported eating at last five fruits and vegetables per day.

*The Hispanic population in Miami had the highest percentage of uninsured in the 18-64 age group.

*Of those with insurance, Medicaid was the most common form of insurance among participants from Miami.  

The larger NIH study revealed these trends:

*Only half the Hispanic men and women ages 45-64 had their diabetes under control.

*Hispanic women, especially those ages 45-64, were the most likely to describe symptoms of depression.

*Daily recreational physical activity was limited across all ages.

*At all ages, women consumed much less salt than men.

*Hispanic men were more likely than Hispanic women to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

*Hispanic men were more likely to drink alcoholic beverages than Hispanic women.

The multiyear study of 16,415 Hispanic men and women ages 18-74 is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and six other institutes, centers, and offices of the NIH. Participants were recruited by field centers associated with academic institutions in the Bronx, NY; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; and, San Diego, CA.  

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