Heart Disease and Latinos

LET ME JUST START BY GIVING FULL DISCLOSURE, I WORK FOR AN AGENCY THAT IS WORKING WITH THE NATIONAL HEART, LUNG, AND BLOOD INSTITUTE. 

When you think of heart disease, what comes to mind? Do you think you’re at risk for it? Unfortunately, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 635,000 people died of heart disease in 2016 – that’s 1 in every 4 US deaths.

However, American Heart Month (February), a federally designated event, is an ideal time to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends and communities involved.

Here are some quick stats when it comes to Latinos/Hispanics and heart disease.

  • Among Hispanic adults age 20 and older, 48.3% of men and 32.4% of women have CVD.
  • In 2013, the prevalence of inactivity was highest among black (27.3%) and Hispanic (20.3%) girls, followed by white girls (16.1%), black boys (15.2%), Hispanic boys (12.1%), and white boys (9.2%).
  • 31.8% of children age 2 to 19 in the United States are overweight or obese; 16.9% are obese. Among Hispanic children rates are 40.7% of boys and 37.0% of girls are overweight or obese. Of these, 24.1% of boys, and 20.6% of girls are obese.
  • 68.5% of adults over age 20 in the United States are overweight or obese; 35.2% are obese. Among Hispanic adults 80.1% of men and 76.3% of women are overweight or obese. Of these, 38.4% of men, and 42.9% of women are obese.

Additional charts may be downloaded directly from the online publication at www.heart.org/statistics.

And women are at a higher risk for heart disease. An astonishing 80% of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Having one or more risk factors dramatically increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease because risk factors tend to worsen each other’s effects. In fact, according to research compiled by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), having just one risk factor doubles your chance of developing heart disease.

Don’t let these numbers scare you though. There are various ways to reduce your risk for heart disease. According to the NHLBI, your doctor may recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes if you have coronary heart disease (CHD). Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include:

  • Heart-healthy eating
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress
  • Physical activity
  • Quitting smoking

You can read more about CHD by clicking here.

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