Hispanic Health Snapshot

Today, more than one in five youth between the ages of 10 and 19 in the United States is Hispanic.  By 2020, that figure will rise to approximately one in four and, by 2040, nearly one in three adolescents will be Hispanic.  The Office of Adolescent Health, in collaboration with the Office of Minority Health, offers a snapshot of how Hispanic adolescents are faring on a range of critical health indicators and provide links to support for the services they may be lacking.

Providing Hispanic adolescents with culturally and linguistically appropriate health services has led to improved quality of care and more positive health outcomes.  There is good news of positive changes in Hispanic health in the areas of health care coverage, teen pregnancy, and earning a high school degree.

Since 1991, the teen birth rate of Hispanics has seen a decline of over 50%.  While they are not the only ethnicity to have good news on this front, their decline in rates were the steepest from 2007-2011, averaging 34%.  The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released new data that teen births have declined dramatically in nearly all states.

The latest report breaks down teen birth data by states and race and ethnicity from 2007 through 2011.   The overall rate fell 25% in the U.S. –a record low!  There were declines among all ethnic groups.  The rate for Latino teens fell 40% or more in 22 states.  Birth rates declined 20% or more for both non-Hispanic black teens in 34 states and for non-Hispanic white teens in 30 states.

However, along with the good news is still the reality that Hispanic adolescents continue to struggle with disparities related to mental health, substance abuse, and physical activity. Hispanic male and female adolescents were more likely to feel depressed than their black and white peers and they were more likely to have ever tried smoking, to drink alcohol (and to start at a younger age); to drive with someone who had been drinking; and to try cocaine, inhalants, and ecstasy.  Hispanic adolescents face challenges to maintaining a healthy weight.   Rates of obesity are higher for Hispanic adolescents than for black and white U.S. adolescents.  Hispanic parents cite a greater number of barriers to their children’s physical activity than do white parents.  They are more likely than their white peers to watch more TV and less likely to be part of an organized sports team.

For more information on each of these issues, See the full article, March 2013: Health Snapshot – Hispanic Adolescents in the United States with numerous links to studies and resources.

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