The below paper will focus on Hispanic/Latino men’s risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The author has identified this group as an at-risk population, as – according to the American Heart Association’s latest report (2013, p. 1), “Among Mexican-American adults age 20 and older, 33.4% of men… have CVD). While it is clear that Hispanic adults are at an increased risk of heart disease, in order to tackle the problem and create effective prevention, health education, and treatment plans, it is important to review the individual risk factors of the group. The author of the current study would like to review statistical data, current initiatives, and policies in order to create effective intervention and prevention plans.
At Risk Population Characteristics
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According to the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2014 Update (AHA Statistical Update, 2014, p. e40), “Blacks and Mexican Americans tend to have fewer metrics at ideal levels than whites or other races.” The report also states that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among high school students grades 9-12 was the highest in the Hispanic group (16.9 percent overweight, and 19.2 percent obese) in 2013. This indicates that diet and lifestyle choices influence the risk of suffering from CVD. Physical inactivity has also been noted by the American Heart Association’s report. According to the statistics (American Heart Association, 2013), 38.4 percent of Hispanic boys watched more than 3 hours of television a day in 2009. Cholesterol levels are also known for increasing the risk of heart disease, and the same study (American Heart Association, 2014). The Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics update (American Heart Association, 2014) found that premature death related to heart disease was 23.5 percent for Hispanics, while only 16.5 percent for non-Hispanic whites. This indicates that low awareness and health literacy is one of the major obstacles that prevent Hispanic adult male adults from seeking treatment and identifying the condition in time.
Health Risks of Hispanic Males Increasing the Risk of CVD
According to a recent publication by the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (2011, p. 1), “Hispanics are the least likely of any racial or ethnic group to have health insurance”. This indicates that this population group would have lower access to preventive and screening health care services.
According to the recent publication of the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association (2014), the main risk factor of CVD was high blood pressure combined with high cholesterol levels, obesity, and diabetes.
Obesity is also found to be one of the main risks associated with heart conditions. According to the Center for Health And Risk in Minority Youth and Young Adults (2013), obesity had a higher prevalence among minority groups than non-hispanic whites. As the report confirms, low social and economic status increases the risk of obesity. The rate of obesity among Mexican American males was found to be 36 percent, compared with 33.8 percent among non-Hispanic white males.
Morales et al. (2014, p. 202) created a comparative study examining cardiovascular disease prevalence of Mexican adults living in Mexico and the United States. Examining several factors, the authors found that cardiovascular disease risk among males was significantly higher for population living in the United States. This indicates that low access to health care and minority status negatively influence health outcomes, and increases the risk of CVD, while genetic profiles are not determining risk. Obesity and abdominal obesity, closely related to lifestyle and diet increased by 170 percent among the population born and living in the United states, compared with those living in Mexico.
Potential Obstacles of Health Promotion and Prevention Plans
According to the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2013), the awareness, control, and treatment of high blood pressure that leads to heart conditions was significantly lower among Mexican Americans than White and Black patients. 70.3 percent of African Americans surveyed were aware of the warning signs of stroke and risk factors, however, only 49.5 percent of Mexican Americans were familiar with the signs and risks. Similarly, while 55.4 percent of African Americans surveyed had their high blood pressure treated, only 34.9 percent of Mexican Americans with the same condition were in a treatment plan. 17.3 percent of Mexican Americans with high blood pressure had their condition controlled, compared with 29.9 percent among Non-Hispanic Whites and Non-Hispanic Blacks.
It is evident from the above review that a comprehensive action plan needs to be developed to successfully identify, educate, and involve at-risk groups in health promotion programs. The Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke of the CDC (2013) provides information about potential intervention models, stakeholders, and approaches. The action plan will be reviewed below in order to create an overview of potential solutions for Hispanic males living in the United States.
The main stakeholders involved in a comprehensive cardiovascular health program are identified by the CDC (2013) as public health agencies, health care providers, partners within the health care sector, such as medical supply companies, education partners, the target population, and the general public. According to Balaczar et al. (2011), Latino culture needs to be taken into consideration when creating awareness and health behavior promotion programs to prevent heart disease. The authors of the paper suggest that policymakers and program creators seek Latino partners to create community-based intervention programs. This indicates that one of the most important stakeholders in the project would be these agencies connecting health care providers with at-risk populations. Involving local churches, schools, clubs, and community centers in delivering the program has been proven to be effective in the past.
As hat English proficiency among Latinos is low in most disadvantaged communities, it is also important that community volunteers are recruited to take part in the program and deliver the message to those patients who are affected by language barriers. In many cases, those with limited English language skills feel isolated and excluded, therefore, they are less likely to seek professional health. The authors (Balcazar et al, 2011) state that consequently recruiting volunteers from the local community and involving schools and churches would increase participation rates. Comparing two approaches: mailing out written materials, or creating group education sessions, the authors found that the community approach was more successful, and the outcomes were more positive. The review of community awareness framework found that programs should be culturally relevant and literature should be language-specific.
Based on the above review of literature, it is evident that in order to implement a successful health intervention plan for Hispanic males living in the United States, community awareness is necessary. As it has been confirmed, prevention is a more cost-effective option, therefore, focusing on education and health awareness to change the at-risk population’s health related behavior, recruiting volunteers from minority groups is essential. Focusing on lifestyle changes and using an influential medium to deliver the message is extremely important to develop a successful heart disease prevention program. This is why policymakers should focus on creating culturally relevant messages, involving communities and leaders who are trusted by individuals in the at-risk group, and using relevant language.
American Stroke Association & American Heart Association (2014) Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2014 Update. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/129/3/e28.extract
American Heart Association. (2014) Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2014 Update A Report from the American Heart Association. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/129/3/e28.full.pdf
Balcazar, H., Alvarado, M., & Ortiz, G. (2011). Salud Para Su Corazon (Health for Your Heart) Community Health Worker Model: Community and Clinical Approaches for Addressing Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction in Hispanics/Latinos. The Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 34(4), 362–372. doi:10.1097/JAC.0b013e31822cbd0b
Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids. (2013) Tobacco use and Hispanics. Retrieved from http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0134.pdf
CDC (2013) A Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/action_plan/
Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. (2013) Disparities in cardiovascular disease and risk factors. Retrieved from http://cvp.ucsf.edu/docs/cvd_disparities.pdf
Morales, C., Flores, Y., Leng, M., Sportiche, N., Gallegos-Carrillo, K. & Salmeron, J. (2014) Risk factors for cardiovascular disease among Mexican-American adults in the United States and Mexico: a comparative study. Salud Publica Mex. 2014; 56: 197-205.
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