Connecticut Hispanics Have Higher Rates of Illnesses Than Other Ethnic Groups, Report Finds
Hispanics in Connecticut have higher rates of cancer, diabetes and other major illnesses than any other racial or ethnic group in the state, according to a report released Tuesday by the Hispanic Health Council, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. According to the 96-page report, Hispanics, who make up 9% of Connecticut's population and are the largest minority group in the state, have higher rates of cervical, esophageal, gall bladder and stomach cancers in comparison to non-Hispanic whites. The report also found that Connecticut Hispanics:
- Have a higher pediatric asthma rates than non-Hispanic whites and blacks and are less likely to receive inhaled steroids and other asthma treatments than non-Hispanic whites;
- Have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections than non-Hispanic whites and account for 25% of all AIDS cases in the state;
- Have an estimated 57% obesity rate;
- Have a higher infant mortality rate than the general population;
- Have a 60% higher mortality rate for diabetes and 40% higher mortality rate for diabetes-related illnesses than non-Hispanic whites; and
- Are less likely to seek care for diabetes.
In addition, the report found that:
- 44% of Hispanics who do seek care report having language barriers;
- About 50% of Hispanics who need interpreters receive them; and
- Hispanics represent 40% of the more than 400,000 individuals in the state who lack health coverage.
The report recommends establishing a universal health care system in Connecticut, increasing the availability interpreters at health care facilities, improving health care literacy among Hispanics and creating more opportunities for Hispanics to earn better wages (Collins, AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/12).
The "health care pictures of African-Americans and Latinos, now the largest minority group, are awful," Janet Davenport, vice president for communications at the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, writes in a Hartford Courant opinion piece. "[E]ven when their income, education and insurance coverage are the same as whites, blacks and Latinos receive lower levels of medical service" and care despite the fact that "conventional wisdom suggested that these gaps would close as more minorities became middle class," according to Davenport (Davenport, Hartford Courant, 12/10).