Health Promotion In Minority Populations: Hispanics/Latinos

A person can be defined as Hispanic/Latino if he is of Cuban, South or Central American, Mexican Puerto Rican, or Spanish culture (US Census Bureau, 2020). Studies have associated Hispanics with relatively poor health compared to people of non-Hispanic origin (Owen, Carmona & Pomeroy, 2020). According to the CDC, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, kidney failure, tuberculosis, cancer, and obesity incidences are higher among the Hispanic/Latinos. An adult living in the US has a 40% probability of developing diabetes, while a Hispanic/Latino has a 50% probability. Hispanics have a higher incidence of diabetes at a younger age. In addition to the increased risk, Hispanics also have a higher risk for developing diabetes complications such as vision loss, blindness, and diabetic kidney disease (Chobby, 2017). The Hispanics are thus at more risk of health problems and complications that arise from the health conditions when compared to persons of non-Hispanic origin.

The Hispanic/Latinos accounted for 27% of the total newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases in the United States in 2018 (CDC, 2020). The percentage is relatively high compared to the Hispanic population percentage in the United States. Studies have shown that non-Hispanics are associated with non-compliance to treatment (Owen et al., 2020). A large portion does not retain antiretroviral treatment. Those who take HIV medications are less likely to achieve satisfactory viral suppression (CDC, 2020). The Hispanic population has a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections than non-Hispanics (Guillamo et al., 2020).

According to CDC (2020), TB incidences are higher among ethnic and racial minorities. The incidences are relatively high among the Hispanic/Latino population, accounting for 29% of the total number of patients diagnosed with TB in the US. The Hispanics have more than eight fold risk of contracting TB compared to the non-Hispanic population, studies reveal (McDonald & Paulozzi, 2019)

Among the Hispanics, taking food that is rich in calories and fats is a common practice. The Hispanic culture also promotes overindulging in food. It is not taken kindly when an individual refuses to take food. It is perceived as disrespect or impoliteness (Villegas, Coba‐Rodriguez & Wiley, 2018). The Hispanics are also less physically active. The physical inactivity coupled with the feeding habits culminates in an increased incidence of obesity among the Hispanics compared to the non-Hispanics (Hales et al., 2017).

Mortality secondary to Acute Kidney Injury and diabetes is high among Hispanics/Latinos. Measures that reduce diabetes incidences would be integral in minimizing mortality due to kidney failure (Chobby, 2017). Actions such as educating the Hispanics on healthy eating habits, promoting exercises, and proper balanced diet help control diabetes. Other measures in the prevention and management of diabetes include intake of unsaturated fats, minimizing intake of saturated fats, reducing sugar intake, increasing body activity, and taking fiber-rich diets (Chobby, 2017). Effective management of diabetes would effectively minimize kidney failure and subsequently reduce mortality.

When controlling diseases and associated comorbidities, primary prevention is vital as it prevents a healthy individual from contracting diseases, thus reducing injury associated with the disease. As seen earlier, Hispanics have a higher risk of contracting diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and obesity. These diseases can be prevented by engaging in activities that minimize the risk of contracting them. For example, educating them on practicing safe sex can reduce the risk of contracting STDs such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, and gonorrhea (Guillamo et al., 2020). The Hispanic population can also be educated on pre-exposure prophylaxis to minimize the spread of HIV/AIDS (Page et al., 2017). Also, intake of a healthy balanced diet and regular exercises are instrumental in reducing the risk of contracting diabetes and reducing comorbidities associated with diabetes. Sensitizing them on their susceptibility (perceived susceptibility) can improve their desire to live healthy lives and desire preventive health activities (Green, Murphy & Gryboski, 2020). Availing services such as cancer screening and free TB screening can be instrumental in the prevention of diseases and their comorbidities.

Health-seeking behavior among Hispanics is inhibited by several factors such as language and cultural barriers, lack of access to health care, poverty, poor access to health promotion services such as health screenings, education disparities, and a biased medical profession. Language barriers inhibit the doctor-patient interaction impacting how the patient reports their symptoms and understands the diagnosis and treatment (Green et al., 2020). The language barrier acts as a discouragement to many Hispanics who lack effective communication skills minimizing access to health care. Most Hispanics are low-wage employees, while some are self-employed, denying them access to public health programs. These factors all culminate into poorer health status compared to their counterparts, the non-Hispanics.

Culture plays an integral role in health promotion among Hispanics. Culture is indispensable in the provision of quality health care. Hispanic culture is relatively the least understood, and this should not be the case. Culture-sensitive interventions should be provided because culture affects the decision-making process among Hispanics. Thus, it is imperative for health care providers to be familiar with the diverse Hispanic culture to provide holistic and best quality care. Care that impinges on culture can negatively affect the patient’s cognition and attitude towards health care (Kwabi, 2017). This, in turn, affects patient cooperation and, consequently, patient healing.

Health care providers should consider several factors during the treatment of Hispanics. This is majorly due to their various culture and origin and associated beliefs, lifestyles, customs, socioeconomic classes, education levels, and attitudes towards health care. There exist substantial within-group subdivision variations among the Hispanics. The differences arise due to their different origins (Caribbean, Mexico, and South America). The healthcare provider should thus consider a person’s origin during care and treatment.

A family is a fundamental unit among the Hispanic cultures. Healthcare providers should consider the family and most certainly involve the extended family during a patient’s care (Murillo et al., 2020). Extended family members often accompany their family members to the hospital. The Hispanics hold on firmly to their cultural beliefs and protect their families by virtual culture. Family members are very supportive of their own and are actively involved in decision-making and availing of necessary resources (Murillo et al., 2020). Hispanics have a long history of being caring to their own. Folk medicine is still firmly rooted in their culture and plays a significant role in managing Hispanic patients. Family members avail necessary resources and assist the patent in choosing the most effective treatment.

The Hispanic populations can be termed as at-risk ethnic groups. They have an increased risk of contracting acute and chronic illness, poor access to medical services, and high incidences of common diseases that healthcare providers should understand and incline their support. Barriers to basic and advanced health care access should be addressed holistically to improve their health statuses. Health care providers should provide holistic care that is culture-sensitive to Hispanics. Cultural diversity obstacles should not be barriers to the providence of quality care to the people.


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