Dr. Delgado: New Federal Data Demonstrate Positive Impact on Health of Culture, Family, and Community

A ‘minority model’ of health should be discarded. Today’s life expectancy data show that understanding the unique Hispanic health profile holds the promise of lessons that can applied for good health for all communities,” said Dr. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and author of The Latina Guide to Health (Newmarket Press, 2010).

“New data from the federal government show that Hispanic life expectancy is more than two years longer than for non-Hispanics, confirming what the Alliance has argued has been evident for more than a decade in population and health survey data,” said Dr. Delgado.

According to Dr. Delgado, “These findings show that risk factors are not deterministic and suggest that culture, family, and community may have a powerful positive impact on well-being. Our health models need to better incorporate the health experiences of all communities.”

Data released today by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) find Hispanic life expectancy is 80 years compared to 77.5 years for non-Hispanic whites and 72.3 years for non-Hispanic blacks. For all groups, life expectancy for women is longer than that for men. This is the first time that the NCHS has released Hispanic life expectancy data.

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health’s advocacy helped lead to the largest study of Hispanic health, the Hispanic Community Health Study / Study of Latinos (SOL), being led by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today enrolling 16,000 Hispanics in a multi-year study to better understand the Hispanic health profile. “Despite the finding today confirming a longer life expectancy for Hispanics, we have much work to do to help ensure those are healthy years of life,” said Dr. Delgado. “Chronic illness and disease, such as diabetes and depression, define the Hispanic health experience and improved access to prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment and management of chronic illness and disease holds the promise of improved quality of life for Hispanic communities.”

SOURCE National Alliance for Hispanic Health