Learn about health initiatives important for Hispanic health.
Hispanics or Latinos are the largest racial/ethnic minority population in the U.S. In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. Congress expanded the observance in 1989 to a month-long celebration, September 15–October 15.
Health Disparities Among Hispanics/Latinos
Everyone should have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, but health disparities continue to severely impact our nation’s health. Health disparities are differences in health outcomes and their causes among groups of people. Although life expectancy and overall health have improved in recent years for many Americans, not everyone is benefiting equally.
Many racial and ethnic minority groups have persistently higher rates of illness and death than the U.S. population as a whole. Some chronic diseases and conditions disproportionately affect Hispanic and Latino communities:
- Hispanics/Latinos are about 50% more likely to die from diabetes or liver disease than non-Hispanic whites.
- Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics are 22% less likely to have controlled high blood pressure.
- Hispanic/Latinos have a colorectal cancer screening rate that is 28% lower than that of non-Hispanic whites.
- Hispanics/Latinos are almost 3 times as likely to be uninsured as non-Hispanic whites.
- The rate of diagnosed diabetes[958 KB] is 66% higher among Hispanics/Latinos than among non-Hispanic whites.
- Hispanic/Latino children and adolescents aged 2-19 years have a higher prevalence of obesity than their non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian peers.
- The proportion of Hispanic adults with obesity is about 20% higher than non-Hispanic whites.
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health
There are many ways to address differences in health outcomes. Community-driven strategies that fully engage community members and address social and economic circumstances as well as cultural practices are improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities. The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program is an important cornerstone of CDC’s efforts to eliminate health disparities in the United States. Learn more about the REACH program, and recent successes.
What can I do to improve my health now?
- Eat healthy! Try adding healthy fats, reducing sodium, and increasing fiber in your diet!
- Know your limits for added sugar in your diet. Too much added sugar in diets is associated with health problems such as weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
- Drink enough water every day.[510 KB] As plain drinking water has zero calories, it can also help with managing body weight and reducing caloric intake when substituted for drinks with calories, like regular soda.
- Stay active! Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness. Walking is a great way to be active.
- Mothers can breastfeed! Breast milk can lower a baby’s risk of common illnesses, including diarrhea, vomiting, ear infections, respiratory infections, stomach infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Breastfed babies may also have less risk of health problems later in life, such as asthma, childhood leukemia, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Breastfeeding can help lower the risk of future health problems for mothers as well, including type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
How can communities help?
- Increase access to healthy food. Without access to healthier foods, a nutritious diet is out of reach. Making affordable, healthier foods more available to residents can improve residents’ health.
- Design walkable communities. Creating or modifying environments to make it easier for people to walk or bike not only helps increase physical activity, but it can also make communities better places to live.
- Support breastfeeding moms. Most mothers don’t breastfeed as long as recommended. The success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be improved through active support from their communities.