Hispanic Children in Rural Areas Face Health-Related Challenges
Hispanic children in rural parts of California and others states who live in poverty face various health-related challenges, Stateline/Sacramento Bee reports.
According to Stateline/Bee, one in four babies born in the U.S. is Hispanic, and they are more often being born into families that live in rural areas of the country. Hispanic babies born in rural areas are more likely to be in low-income families than their urban counterparts.
Jose Padilla, director of the not-for-profit California Rural Legal Assistance, said, "Rural newborns born into rural poverty is reality," adding, "Rural (areas are) where many of the foreign born and immigrant families go to live."
Details of Challenges
Because of their socioeconomic status and geographic locations, Hispanic children in rural areas often face barriers to accessing:
- Health care, particularly if their parents are undocumented immigrants; and
- Federal and state programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
Brenda Eskenazi, a professor of maternal and child health and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley, said, "This is a very hard-to-reach population."
Further, some Hispanic farmworker families live in crowded, "substandard" housing, which can contribute to families' health problems, according to Virginia Ruiz, director of occupational and environmental health at Farmworker Justice. Ruiz said, "Families [in such situations] are exposed to environmental toxins like mold, rodents and insects."
Meanwhile, some Hispanic children in farmworker families also live near areas that have been sprayed with strong pesticides, which can heave health effects.
As a result of such challenges, several states are implementing programs related to health care, home visits and other services in an attempt to help Hispanic families with children in rural areas.
Michael McAfee, vice president for programs at PolicyLink, said such programs will be most effective in areas where leaders have the authority to tailor them to targeted populations.
He said local leaders "know how to engage culturally to get to Latino families in rural areas" (Wiltz, Stateline/Sacramento Bee, 8/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.