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Latinos Taking Charge of Health

Posted November 6th, 2010 in Food, Hispanic Marketing, Public Relations, Technology

An increasing amount of Hispanic communities are working together to positively impact Latino health and wellness.

By Richie and Lucia Matthews for PODER Hispanic Magazine.

The U.S. Latino population suffers disproportionately from a range of health complications including diabetes and heart disease when compared with the overall general market. These dire health circumstances are the result of a complex web of social, cultural and economic conditions.

As the propensity for bad health grows, the issue has become an increasingly salient topic for Hispanic communities. More and more grassroots movements, businesses, and individuals are providing health and wellness information geared towards Hispanics. The philosophy behind these efforts is better, more culturally relevant information will lead to better health and wellness for Hispanics.

Health disparities among minorities are prevalent in the U.S. and across the globe.   Diabetes is one of the leading causes the asymmetrical scenario for Hispanics. It has been reported that 21percent of older Hispanics have diabetes compared to 14.3 percent of Caucasians. Cardiovascular disease is another forerunner problem for Latinos.  It has been estimated that one out of every four Hispanic male and one of every three Hispanic female will suffer from heart disease or stroke.

Lifestyle changes, prevention and early intervention services such as immunizations, cancer screenings and diabetes testing are solutions that could assist in ensuring a healthier Hispanic population. Diet and inactivity tendencies of Hispanics play a strong role in shaping the problem. Arguably, education and access are the principle barriers in assisting Latinos to revolutionize health patterns.

U.S. Hispanic citizens are increasingly gaining more access to health and wellness resources as individuals, the business community,and grassroots organizations come together to help educate and provide access to health resources.

It’s All About the Kids Foundation organizes monthly activities for children from a coalition of charities.  They have recently joined forces with the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce, a national business association, and with business executive leaders such as Ramon Toledo, CEO Busca Corp, a leading Hispanic digital entertainment network. Providing access to resources, these private and public alliances are an emerging trend within the Hispanic health and wellness community.

Focusing on education, The Association of Junior League’s Kids in the Kitchen initiative has partnered with Texas chef Michael Flores to help reverse the growth of childhood obesity and its associated health issues.  Chef Flores has taken his own childhood passion for cooking and turned it into an evolving lifelong profession in the culinary arts.  Despite his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America, Michael Flores focuses on providing simple solutions for encouraging families to get back to the table. Through the Kids in the Kitchen and other education initiatives he heads, Michael teaches children how to prepare practical healthy meals, through his bilingual recipes.

Communicating with Latinos is more than a translation issue. Not to negate the importance or the use of the Spanish language, but studies suggest U.S. Hispanics, as a majority, speak English. Findings from the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving understandings of the U.S. Hispanic population, suggest 88percent of second generation U.S. Hispanic adults and 94 percent third generation are fluent English speakers.

The key to communicating relevantly with Latinos is to understand the significance of messages founded in cultural nuance. When speaking with Latinos, health programs, education, and other resources should move away from translating mainstream content into Spanish and towards resonating culturally. This will improve minority groups’ affinity towards and navigation within the U.S. health system.

Various online communities have developed over the years that seek to empower and enable Latinos to improve health conditions. Sana Health Group, Inc. is one such company with this goal in mind. They specialize in offering Hispanics manageable, trusted sources and resources that make staying healthy easier.

Sana Health Group recently launched HispanoSano.com to provide applications that offer access to bilingual information on everything from diabetes and cancer to fitness and diet. Latinos can seek out applicable information based on their particular needs or join community groups to interact with others in similar situations.

The Internet is an excellent platform to provide health information to Hispanics. Hispanics are technology mavens and savvy in accessing information and utilizing social networks online.   Internet-based,tailored health information is an effective way to engage Hispanics both relevantly and culturally.

The current health status of U.S. Hispanics may appear glum, but the tides may turn as more organizations and individuals come together to provide access to relevant health education to the community.




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