Hispanics and Latinos living in
the United States are highly likely to have several major
cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high cholesterol, high
blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and smoking, according to a new
study to be published Wednesday in the Journal of the American
Medical Association (JAMA).
Hispanic and Latino people now comprise the largest minority group in the U.S. Although this population is relatively young, cardiovascular diseases are already their leading cause of death -- and the group is at high risk of future cardiovascular diseases as it becomes older.
The data came from 15,079 Hispanic/Latino men and women who participated in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL).
"We found that U.S. Hispanic/Latino prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors had been underestimated," said Martha Daviglus, director of the Institute for Minority Health Research at the University of Illinois and first author of the JAMA report.
A "very large" proportion of the participants being studied -- 80 percent of men and 71 percent of women -- were found to have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, said Daviglus.
Prevalence of three or more risk factors was highest among those of Puerto Rican background, and significantly higher among those with less education, those who were born in the U.S., those who lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years, and those whose preferred language was English rather than Spanish.
"It is important to understand the distribution of risk factors in this relatively young population," Daviglus said, "because this is our opportunity to educate the community and prevent cardiovascular disease that could be devastating to this population as they age."
The HCHS/SOL included men and women between the ages of 18 and 74 of Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Central and South American backgrounds. The study was designed to investigate the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases and to determine the incidence and death rates from those diseases among Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S.
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