Health is a vital foundation that supports and fosters human growth, social fulfillment, as well as personal well-being. However, racial and ethnic health discrepancies have undermined the health care system in the US, making it hard to offer preventive services to all communities. For instance, Hispanic community has endured health disparities due to its culture, inadequate access to health services, as well as lack of health insurance cover. As the US’s population of ethnic minority groups continues to rise, the need for health promotion and prevention should also increase. The US health department should work with the Hispanic community to ease health disparities by enabling every individual in the community enjoy high-quality and affordable healthcare services.
Hispanic or Latino community is one of the minority ethnic groups in the US. The ethnic group incorporates people from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, as well as South and Central America (“Profile: Hispanic/Latino Americans,” 2015). In 2012, the Latino population accounted for approximately 16.9% of the US population. The Latino health is usually shaped by the cultural barriers, racial discrimination, low access to preventive are, as well as failure to enroll in health insurance. This is in comparison with the national health provision, where many Americans have enrolled in healthcare insurance. In addition, the community records the highest rates of obesity in the US. The current situation is influenced by limited access to healthcare providers, as well as financial constraints among the community (Penedo, et al., 2016).
Enacting healthy behavior among Latino population is a challenge to health care policy makers because of the community’s commitment to its culture. Latinos dread visiting doctors and prefer traditional home remedies to modern hospitals. This occurs even to individuals who have steady income, but most Latinos earn meager income to afford decent healthcare. Language barrier is still an issue to Latinos, as most of them are semi-illiterate while being undocumented restrict Latinos from enrolling in health insurance.
Thus, understanding behaviors and preferences of Latinos can assist in establishing appropriate policy to enhance the community’s health. The individuals involved in providing outreach to Hispanic population are referred to as promotores (health promoters), and their most recognizable intervention practice is chronic disease management (Madanat, Arredondo & Ayala, 2016). This is because Hispanic community has the largest number of chronic disease patients. Promotores support health in the community through training community members, as well as introducing practical skills that encourage health-related
Health disparities occur in Latino community because health care providers are incapable of co-operating culturally with patients and their family members (Zoller & Dutta, 2009). Higher mortality rates for cancer patients and low levels of healthcare, have also contributed in health disparities. Hispanics have higher chances of being diagnosed with advance stage of common cancers, as well as higher mortality rates for specific cancers, such as uterine, cervical, and gastrointestinal cancers, owing to poor access to healthcare facilities, inappropriate screening, and late detection (Penedo, et al., 2016). Health organizations tend to avoid offering clinically necessary routine procedures to minority groups as compared to the majority group.
To decrease health disparities among Latinos, the federal department that handles health-related issues has strived to employ the three levels of prevention: namely, primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. While primary prevention aims at preventing ailments before they occur, secondary prevention intends to minimize the impact of the ailments that have already occurred. For instance, most cancer ailments require secondary prevention because they become visible at an advanced stage. Tertiary prevention focuses on softening the impact created by some diseases or injuries that could be having lasting effects.
The current health situation among Hispanic/Latino population can eradicated through appropriate health promotion policy. The most appropriate level of health promotion prevention that can be applied to Hispanic community is primary prevention because it would assist in altering unsafe behaviors that result in lifestyle and preventable ailments. Inappropriate behaviors such as smoking and irresponsible sexual behaviors have contributed to chronic diseases that are preventable. Sociodemographic factors that include sex, insurance status, and level of income, have been blamed for high prevalence of cancer among Hispanics (Penedo, et al., 2016). Some of these factors can be handled through job creation and culture change. Access to health care facilities and counseling can assist in preventing lifestyle illnesses. Apart from the preventive primary care clinic, rural Hispanic residents require urgent care or ambulatory medical clinics to enhance their current health status.
In conclusion, the US health department has a responsibility of ensuring that the Hispanic community enjoys high-quality and affordable healthcare services, thus, easing the health disparities among the minority communities. As the Hispanic/Latino population keeps on to rising, so is its health needs. The Latino community is vulnerable to several chronic ailments, such as cancer, obesity, and heart diseases. The most appropriate health intervention should be to educate the community on how to make use of available healthcare facilities for screening, as well as paying attention to nutritional needs. Understanding behaviors and preferences of Latinos, in addition to encouraging enrolment in health insurance can assist in enhancing the community’s health.
Madanat, H., Arredondo, E. M., & Ayala, G. X. (2016). Introduction to health promotion & behavioral science in public health. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Penedo, F. J., Yanez, B., Castañeda, S. F., Gallo, L., Wortman, K., Gouskova, N., & … Ramirez, A. G. (2016). Self-Reported Cancer Prevalence among Hispanics in the US: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Plos ONE, 11(1), 1-11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146268
Profile: Hispanic/Latino Americans (2015, June 8). OMH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Zoller, H. M., & Dutta, M. J. (2009). Emerging perspectives in health communication: Meaning, culture, and power. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.