Every individual in the United States deserves an opportunity to lead a healthy life. That fact is withstanding, diverse racial groups have worse health than other racial groups. Although the United States has witnessed huge advancement in both medical and technological field since gaining its independence, however, this has not been replicated in the country's efforts to guarantee people across all races equal opportunities for potential healthier and longer lives. Persistent and prevalent disparities related diverse racial and ethnic minority population continue to prevail and access to equal healthcare to people of all races remain elusive. Communities of diverse races systematically experience economic and social disparities that result in challenges in accessing optimal healthcare (NCBI resources, 2006). The health inequalities refer to disparities in access to healthcare as a result of disadvantages in the environment, economic, and social settings of a particular race. Moreover, these disparities embrace aspects such as discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sexual identity, disabilities, mental wellbeing, gender orientation, geographical location, and age. One of the most prevalent ethnic minority group impacted by health disparities is Hispanic Americans. This review offers an in-depth inquiry on the subject of health disparities related to Hispanic Americans.
The health status of Hispanic Americans
Demographics linked to Hispanic Americans indicate that the group comprises of the 2nd largest populous ethnic minority group coming from an array of countries. 60% of the Hispanic population have their origin in Mexico, 18% from South and Central America, 15% from Puerto Rico, 6 % from Cuba, and 8% from the rest of Hispanic Nations (The online journal of issues in nursing, 2012). This diversity of Hispanics origin is also reflected on their socio-economic scale regarding their immigration status and their disparities in acculturations levels. The 2000 United States' population census indicate that the Hispanic population had an approximate rise of 60% by steadily increasing from 23 million people in 1990 to 35.3 million people (The online journal of issues in nursing, 2012). This increase was credited to improve fertility rates and high immigration levels from Latin America. The status of Hispanic Americans health in the collective is on the scale is remarkably fair and is much nearer to the health status of the whites than that of the African Americans. This is despite the fact that the prevalence of poverty among the black and Hispanic populations is approximately similar.
In 1999, the projected life expectancy among Hispanic men and women at birth was 75.1 and 82.6 years respectively (The online journal of issues in nursing, 2012). The Hispanics' mortality rate is considerably good compared to that of non-Hispanic whites. However, disparities are emergent when this comparison is based on disease-linked mortalities with that of the Hispanics being significantly high. The social and economic status of the Hispanics are the main determinants of the groups' health situation. In the United States, the levels of income of the Hispanic is low compared to their non-Hispanic Whites counterparts. Besides, Hispanics experience a range of challenges in receiving optimal healthcare. These challenges are related to social, economic, and special aspects associated with the Hispanic population.
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Barriers to Access to optimal health care
Hispanic minorities experience the multiplicity of challenges related to economic and non-economic constraints in their pursuit of timely and optimal health care. Among these constraints; language, the status of their immigration, and the level of acculturation are the main determinants to accessing appropriate care (NCBI resources, 2006). It is apparent that Hispanic immigrants who have immigrated to the United States in recent times are significantly isolated from the mainstream society. As a result, they face barriers in accessing healthcare since they are exceedingly unfamiliar with the existing systems of healthcare.
The challenge of English proficiency presents a significant hurdle to Hispanics in their search of information that relates to health reducing their chances of accessing health care. Proficiency in English directly impacts on individuals' chances of securing a job that can improve his/her financial ability. Moreover, the patient-provider relationship is greatly linked to communicative abilities and is directly credited with the procedure of delivery of healthcare. The challenge between the patient and the healthcare provider accounts for the varied delivery of healthcare in the form of possible instances where excessive medication is prescribed leading to adverse side effects, lack of comprehension on medical tests resulting in the wrong diagnosis, and inconsistent follow-up (NCBI resources, 2006). Thus, communication challenges among the Hispanic population have impacted of health care disparities in the United States.
Another major barrier refers to the unique sociopolitical feature of Hispanics who are undocumented. The sociopolitical status of the immigrants is a key determinant of their ability to access health care. Most Hispanic immigrants fail to easily obtain insurance cover that is essential to accessing affordable health care since most of them are undocumented. This means that the uninsured Hispanics have to rely on health care that is out-of-pockets. However, with their extremely low incomes, it is difficult to maintain the usual source of care and thus choose to forgo health care (NCBI resources, 2006). Furthermore, recent Hispanic immigrants who have been documented receive meager health benefits in comparison to existing programs that offer public health insurance.
Health promotion prevention for Hispanics
Health promotion prevention programs are essential in serving the disparities among the Hispanic population in the United States. These programs will be dictated by the legitimacy of the community in the primary approach and marketing strategies that target on promoting the community’s health awareness in both the tertiary and secondary approach category. The community must be taught to depart from certain lifestyle habits such as smoking and unhealthy eating through social marketing. This strategy should target in addressing the cultural and economic variations while also embracing on educating the community on health-related subjects. On community legitimacy, mechanisms that permit the Hispanic community to embrace community-based health programs should be established. The utilization of health professions from the Hispanic community will offer a representation in the health platform that is endowed with determining the goals of established health prevention programs (Laguna, 2014). This approach would be effective since the community-allied professionals will effectively address the needs of the Hispanic community by being actively involved in making of health policies that advocate for the community wellbeing. Moreover, these professionals will effectively rely on health information to their community.
Laguna. (2014). Racial/ethnic variation in care preferences and care outcomes among United States hospice enrollees. California: University of Southern California Los Angeles, California 2014-08-12 2014-08-12.
NCBI resources. (2006). Hispanics and the Future of America. Retrieved from Hispanics and the Future of America.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19910/
The online journal of issues in nursing. (2012). Race Consciousness and the Health of African Americans. Retrieved from Race Consciousness and the Health of African Americans: http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume82003/No1Jan2003/RaceandHealth.html