Hispanic Health: Long Live Latinos!

Good health means much more than looking good in the mirror. It is keeping track of our physical and mental health.

By Belinda Quesada
Published on LatinoLA: February 14, 2011

Hispanic Health: Long Live Latinos!

According to a government study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Latino's living in the United States on-average outlive Caucasians by more than 2 years and outlive African Americans on average by more than 7 years.

This information is a good news/bad news story according to Dr. Jane Delgado, President and CEO, of the National Alliance of Hispanic Health. She reports the startling news that until 1989, the CDC did not collect an individuals 'ethnicity' or 'race' as a data point on Death Certificates. Meaning, when a Latino died before 1989, Death Certificates nationwide recorded their deaths to the CDC, just not the deceased ethnic identity. Now for the good news, since the 1990's, this same data point confirms that on-average Latino's live longer. Hurray!

Another surprising finding reported by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health was that newly arrived immigrants of all ethnic backgrounds on average had better health. This contradicts previous assumptions that recent arrivals were unhealthy; thus, adding a further burden to society and our healthcare system. On the contrary, newly arrived families and individuals can succeed especially in large urban environments where there is greater tight knit community support and resources are more abundant. Delgado further reminds us that good health habits include; less tobacco and alcohol, more walking or some sort of physical exercise, and eating meals together as a family are a large part of the winning formula to longevity.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to maintain good health habits are mindful of how fragile our health can be. Good health means much more than looking good in the mirror. It is keeping track of our physical and mental health. While Latinos live longer, we do have inherent health risk such as Diabetes, Lupus, and childhood Obesity. Be mindful to consult your physician if you suspect you might be at risk for something. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your mental and physical health.

Recently, the White House and federal government Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released a new food pyramid and strongly urged Americans to eat a bit less, read the label of processed foods, and exercises more. This is great advice to remind our selves. Especially on a day where we see hearts everywhere and speak of love unabashedly. Stay heart healthy; and remember, somebody loves you and is thinking of you, even if they may be many miles away.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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