LATINOS: Puerto Ricans Have More Health Problems
Among Hispanics living in the United States, Puerto Ricans fare worse than Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans and others of Hispanic descent, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. Anjum Hajat, author of a four-year study released today by the National Center for Health Statistics, said, "The health indicators for Puerto Rican persons are significantly worse than for other Hispanic-origin subgroups." Puerto Ricans reported being sick more often and having more hospital stays and sick days off from work or school. Further, 18% of Puerto Ricans reported being in fair or poor health, compared to 16% of Mexicans, 14% of Cubans and 12% of other Hispanic groups. Puerto Ricans also had more doctor visits, with 83% reporting they had seen a doctor in the past year, compared to 78% of Cubans, 77% of other Hispanics and 69% of Mexicans.
Hard Hit by Chronic Disease
The report is the "government's first effort to look at health differences among Hispanic groups," including Mexicans who make up 63% of all Hispanics, Puerto Ricans representing 11% and Cubans who make up 4%. Another 22% of those of Hispanic origins were grouped together. Information was culled from interviews and data from a national health survey of all Americans collected between 1992 and 1995. As a whole, Hispanics "lag in many areas of health," including being hard hit by diabetes, AIDS and depression. Also, one-quarter of the nation's 44 million uninsured are Hispanic. However, the study's information "could mask important health information about Hispanics and reinforce stereotypes that Hispanics, because they tend to have lower incomes than other Americans, are in poorer health." Hispanics do fare better in some areas, on a whole. They live longer on average than white Americans and have lower rates of breast cancer, but also have higher rates of cervical cancer (Gullo, 2/25).