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New poll finds diabetes top health concern for Latino families
Date:1/22/2014

Boston, MA A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll was released today on the views of Latinos in America about their health and health care, communities, financial situation, and discrimination in their lives. The poll found that Latinos see diabetes as the biggest health problem for their own families.

Nearly one in five (19%) Latinos said diabetes is the biggest health problem facing their families. The next most cited problem, cancer, is mentioned by just one in twenty Latinos (5%). Diabetes was the biggest health problem reported by both immigrant (16%) and non-immigrant Latinos (22%).

"These findings are surprising," said Robert J. Blendon, Sc.D., Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Previous polls have shown that Latinos see cancer as the most important health problem facing the country. But when asked about their own families, Latinos cite diabetes as the biggest problem."

The poll reports on the views and experiences of all Latinos, as well as six separate Latino groups: those of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, South American and Central American heritage. This focus allows examination of the results by different Latino heritage groups. Also, the poll examines the views of Latinos born in the United States and those born in other countries.

Researchers have long cited diabetes as a threat for the nation's Latino population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hispanic adults are 1.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician, and 1.5 times more likely to die from diabetes.

Prior studies have shown that obesity rates among immigrants increase as their duration of residence in the U.S. increases, and suggest that this may be attributable in part to changes in lifestyle, including unhealthy diet. However, the p
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8413
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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