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Latinos are the largest, fastest-growing, and youngest minority group in the United States. They are sometimes called Hispanic-Americans. Latino is not a race, but an ethnicity. Latinos are persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin. Latinos may be any race. This helps to explain variations in disease rates between subgroups of Latinos.
Like so many people living in the United States, Latinos are challenged by high rates of heart disease, diabetes, and overweight and obesity. Moreover, Latinos face many barriers to good health. Nearly one-third of Latinos do not have health insurance. People who are uninsured are less likely to have a regular doctor or get preventive care, which results in poorer health overall. Latinos living in rural areas can have a hard time getting to a doctor. Cultural and language barriers can keep Latinos from explaining symptoms they are having or understanding the doctor's advice.
Many Latinas want a better life for themselves and their children but are unaware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and preventive care. Reading about these challenges can help you take action. You will learn what tests to ask your doctor about. You also will see information about behaviors to avoid, as well as lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of disease.
Content last updated: March 01, 2012.