The National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), recently released results of the largest and most comprehensive health and lifestyle analysis of people from a range of Hispanic/Latino heritage groups. The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) enrolled more than 16,000 Hispanic/Latino adults living in San Diego, Chicago, Miami, and the Bronx, who self-identified as being of Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or South American heritage (first, second, or third generation).
“Although Hispanics represent one out of every six people in the U.S., our knowledge about Hispanic/Latino health and the diverse heritage groups has been limited,” said Dr. Larissa Avilés-Santa, project officer for HCHS/SOL. “The information compiled in the HCHS/SOL Data Book serves as a foundation for individuals, communities, scientists, and health policy makers to use to tailor more effective clinical and public health intervention strategies.”
The HCHS/SOL Data Book highlights data from the HCHS/SOL baseline examination, which occurred between the years 2008 and 2011. For this evaluation, study participants underwent an extensive clinical evaluation to identify the incidence of diseases and risk factors, as well as other important characteristics such as lifestyle and health insurance status. Cardiovascular and lung health tests, a dental exam, hearing tests, and a glucose tolerance test were also included.
Dr. Gregory Talavera, professor and chair of the Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University, is the principal investigator for the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) field center in San Diego. Dr. Talavera said the work will help illuminate aspects of health that are unique to Hispanic/Latino populations: “This study lays the foundation for future research on the possible causes of chronic diseases and ways to prevent them, and to help us understand the reasons why Hispanics/Latinos live longer than the general population,” Dr. Talavera said.
The research found that the Hispanic/Latino population in the United States is diverse, not only in terms of ancestry, culture, and economic status, but also in the prevalence of certain risk factors for chronic disease. Some examples of study findings shown in the databook are:
While the study uncovered key differences among Hispanic/Latino adults, it also found some important commonalities of Hispanic/Latino health. For example, among all heritage groups:
Since the original baseline exam, study participants have been contacted annually to check on how their health might have changed, particularly their cardiovascular health. Researchers expect to reassess certain health measurements among the study participants to better understand the relationships between the risk factors identified during the first visit and the eventual health outcomes in Hispanic/Latino populations.
From 2014 to 2017, HCHS/SOL participants are being invited to participate in a second health examination, referred to as Visit 2. Similar to the baseline exam, Visit 2 will include measurements of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, height, and kidney function, among other tests. One important addition to the Visit 2 is that eligible participants will be asked to partake in an Echocardiography exam in order to gain further insight into the heart health of the Hispanic/Latino population.
For more information and to access the HCHS/SOL Data Book, please visit: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/resources/NHLBI-HCHSSOL-English-508.pdf
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