A look at Hispanic health

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone in South Texas, with its large and diverse population, that the most important health risks for Hispanics may be a little different than for others.

For example, Hispanics have a lower overall death rate than non-Hispanic whites. But Hispanics are more likely to die from diabetes. And while heart disease is the leading cause of death among all Americans, cancer holds the No. 1 spot among Hispanics.

These were among the highlights of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said was their first national study on Hispanic health risks and leading causes of death, published Tuesday in the publication Vital Signs.

“Four out of 10 Hispanics die of heart disease or cancer. By not smoking and staying physically active, such as walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, Hispanics can reduce their risk for these chronic diseases and others such as diabetes,” said Dr.Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, in a written release. “Health professionals can help Hispanics protect their health by learning about their specific risk factors and addressing barriers to care.”

At almost 57 million, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the nation, representing one in six residents. That number is expected to grow to nearly one in four, or 85 million, over the next two decades. They are younger, on average, and more likely to be uninsured.

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