Hispanics are among the fastest and largest growing minority community in the United States; with an estimated population of about 54 million. This minority ethnic minority struggles to live, stay healthy, feed their families, and live quality lives. The Hispanic population experiences serious health threats because of the educational barriers and economic disparity. Based on the 2009 report of the CDC (2013), it was estimated that about 40.1 percent of this minority community never completed high school, although the percentage has gradually decreased, the group still experiences significant educational discrepancy compared with the majority ethnic groups. It is important for the federal government to use a multifaceted approach to reduce the barriers faced by the Hispanic community; hence, address the concerns on the cultural and practical level, especially when it comes to diabetes and obesity. Besides, the government and other stakeholders need to focus on disease prevention and health promotion among the minority and diverse population.
Comparing statistics for the primary health concern of your population to the rest of the general population in the United States
Diabetes and obesity remain a primary health concern among the Americans. By 2012, the CDC estimated the number of people suffering from this syndrome to be 29 million Americans. The incidence of this disease seems to have increased until 2010 before decelerating thereafter. Unfortunately, the Hispanic community appears to be affected disproportionately by diabetes as explained by CDC (2014). The incidence of diabetes among this people has increased compared other ethnic groups. Besides, the prevalence of this disorder seems to vary among the community’s subgroups. For instance, in 2012, among the Puerto Ricans, South and Central Americans, Cubans, and Mexicans’ age-adjusted rate stood at 14.8%, 8.5%, 9.3%, and 13.9% respectively (Velasco-Mondragon, Jimenez, Palladino-Davis, Davis, & Escamilla-Cejudo, 2016). Unlike other majority tribes, the Hispanics experiencing the syndrome are also diagnosed with related comorbidities including diabetic neuropathy, chronic renal disease, diabetic retinopathy, and CVD. Indisputably, these related diseases have increased the medical expenses for the affected uninsured Hispanics (CDC, 2014).
Today, the country spends over $245 billion on diabetes; with $176 billion directed towards the direct medical costs including hospitalization, medical supplies, medications, and comorbidities while the rest is spent on the indirect costs which include permanent disability, loss of employment, and low life expectancy (CDC, 2014). The government spends 2.3 times higher on diabetes than other medical expenses. Among the American population, the Hispanic suffers greatly from diabetes compared to the overall population. For instance, 12.2 percent of this vulnerable group has diabetes compared to the 8% of the entire population (CDC, 2013). The situation is worse on men; where 15.4 percent have diabetes compared to the 9.5% of the Hispanic women. According to the findings of De Heer, Koehly, Pederson, and Morera (2011), Hispanic children have contracted diabetes and obesity at higher rates compared to the national average.
Diabetes and obesity have affected the Hispanic population negatively than other health disorders. Without a doubt, the mortality for obesity and diabetes seem to affect the Hispanics disproportionately (CDC, 2013). In 2010, CDC reported that diabetes was among the leading causes of mortality among the Americans, as it led to 69,071 deaths. However, the mortality rates were significantly different for the vulnerable population; where it stood at 26.3 percent compared to the 18.6 percent for the overall population (CDC, 2013). Among the males, the diabetes death rates seemed higher among the Hispanic males (30.4%) compared to the white males (23.1%). Among women, Geiss et al. (2014) reported that the Hispanic women experienced higher diabetes death rates (23.0%) compared to the white women (14.9%). Because of obesity, this population is vulnerable to heart diseases. Given the trend and causes of diabetes, it is evident that the Hispanic population is driven away from the preventative care services.
The factors affecting health promotion and disease prevention for the population
The existing health promotion disparities affecting the Hispanic population are numerous. The disparities in health depend on the cultural and economic factors; which seem to have resulted from the natural barriers leading to active discrimination (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). The hindrances justify the need for adopting a multifaceted approach that can improve the Hispanic population’s health status. The factors affecting health promotion and disease prevention could include:
The Hispanic demographic is among the ethnic groups with the highest incidence of poverty. According to the CDC (2013), the population’s poverty rate stands at 14.5 percent. With this level of poverty indices, the group experiences significance economic hardship. To this effect, most of the Hispanic families opt for the daily needs instead of their health care needs (Page-Reeves et al. 2013). In most cases, these individuals have opted to delay their medical visits to allow them to buy groceries and pay rents leading to the lack of education and preventive interventions, therefore, increasing the diabetes rates among the minority population.
The Hispanic population suffers significantly from language barriers which have deterred them from seeking medical care (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). Since the majority of the minority community rarely speaks English, they frequently feel dejected from looking for medical assistance, because they never feel welcomed in the hospitals or medical offices. For instance, the few individuals who speak English have frequently reported condescended or discriminated feeling because of their speaking accents. The language barrier has compelled the Hispanic people to pursue the medical help when it is absolutely necessary instead of engaging in preventive care.
It is never a secret that the Hispanic community experienced poor educational backgrounds compared to other ethnic groups. The problem has been compounded by the cultural and economic barriers which have made it difficult for the minority population to seek early educational and medical interventions. They appear to have been deprived of access to educational services like other ethnic groups (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). Since the community has found it difficult to understand and speak English, they can rarely participate in various medical education programs; therefore, creating barriers on children who grow unaware of the primary health concerns.
Health care initiatives tried by other organizations for the population.
The health service is part of the social responsibility which the government has adopted to address the health needs of this minority community. This social response encompasses different health programs and policy to improve the community’s health status. The typical health service indicators which the government has considered include quality and performance, costs and expenditures, coverage, access, and utilization. Among the Hispanic population, cultural competence and health literacy have proved critical. The adoption of the Obamacare, for instance, has increased the ease of accessing the health services for many American including Hispanics; which a recent survey indicates that over 87 percent of this ethnic group has health insurance (Healthy People 2020, 2016). The new health policy has expanded the coverage, hence, allowing the Hispanics to access Medicaid and related federal and states health insurance. The ACA implementation has reduced the uninsured rate by 11.9 percent among this minority group (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). Unfortunately, the Hispanics continue to experience persistent challenges to access healthcare due to low income.
The federal government should use a multifaceted and multilevel approach to improve the Hispanics health status. As part of the priority policy, it would be prudent for the government to adopt an all-policy health approach; which encompasses biological, environmental, and social forces. In fact, these forces seem to have transformed the Hispanics’ epidemiological profile (Gelormino, Melis, Marietta, & Costa, 2015). By adopting an all-policy approach would introduce a collaborative framework to accommodate the interests of all social sectors, hence, incorporate equity and health in the federal government’s decision-making program. For example, the healthy people program should consider Hispanic health initiatives to increase access to preventive environmental exposure, healthier food choices, preventative and primary care, and offer a safe recreational environment for the Hispanics (Healthy People 2020, 2016).
The Hispanic community has experienced worse health conditions than the majority ethnic groups. As evident in this paper, the community is affected by different factors which have made the access to health care difficult. The situation has made the Hispanic population feel dejected, discouraged, and discriminated when it comes to social services. The budget restriction has interfered with the preventative measures for diabetes and obesity. Despite the limitation to pursue health promotion and disease prevention in the Hispanic and vulnerable population, the government should address the barriers, therefore, use free materials to resolve the health problems facing the Hispanic community.
- CDC. (2014). National Diabetes Statistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta: U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC). (2013). MMWR Supplements: Past Volume (2013). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/ind2013_su.html#HealthDisparities2013.
- De Heer, H., Koehly, L., Pederson, R., and Morera, O. (2011). Effectiveness and Spillover of an After-School Health Promotion Program for Hispanic Elementary School Children. American Journal of Public Health, 101(10), 1907-1913.
- Geiss, L.S., Wang, J., Cheng, Y.J. et al. (2014). Prevalence and Incidence Trends for Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 to 79 Years, United States, 1980-2012. Journal of American Medical Association, 3(12), 1218-1226.