March 4, 2014

Study: Diabetes, Obesity Still Common Among Latinos in US

New report examines health, lifestyle of adult Latinos, Hispanics in the country; also found most did not have health insurance.

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Diabetes, pre-diabetes and obesity continue to be common in Latinos in the United States, according to a study of more than 16,000 adults.

The study from the National Lung and Blood Institute examined the health and lifestyle of adults who self-identified as Latinos or Hispanic in San Diego, Miami, Chicago and the Bronx, New York and found the majority of those surveyed did not have health insurance.

Although Arizona was not part of the study, the health insurance disparities in the state reflect the national trend, said Francisco Moreno, M.D., University of Arizona’s College of Medicine deputy dean of diversity.

“First generation Latinos in the U.S. are a bit less insured than Latinos that have been here a long time, and we have a pretty good proportion of new immigrants here by virtue of being close to the border with Mexico,” Moreno said.

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The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos says 80 percent of the participants were not born in the U.S. Half of the total participants have lived in the U.S. for at least 20 years.

Participants self-identified as Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Central American or South American and were of diverse economic groups. The goals were to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease and how those affect Hispanic and Latinos of different backgrounds.

More than 37 percent of participants of Mexican background had pre-diabetes, the highest of all groups.

“In Arizona we are going to be similar to the national findings of those of Mexican descent because the majority of Hispanics here have Mexican background,” Moreno said.

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