Hispanic Heritage Month: Overcoming health disparities among the Hispanic population

Sep 26, 2022

¡Salud amigos y familia! 

In Spanish, this can be read as “Cheers to friends and family!”, but the word salud also literally translates as “health,” and is often used in this phrase to celebrate wellness.

September 15 kicked off the month-long celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. This month, Nevada Health Link encourages you to consider how you can promote Hispanic and Latino health through physical activity and other related health behaviors, and to be aware of health disparities among the Hispanic population. Americans all over the nation have been observing Hispanic Heritage Month for more than 50 years to appreciate the vast histories, cultures, and contributions of Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The celebration lasts for 30 days and also commemorates the independence of several Latin American countries.

Nevada Health Link provides Spanish-language resources that can help both professionals and clients communicate important initiatives for Hispanic health, such as physical activity, well-being, and other steps to take to achieve lifelong wellness. All plans with Nevada Health Link cover the 10 essential health benefits.

Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy life

Latinos and Hispanics represent 53 percent of the anticipated population growth in the next five years. Despite this, higher rates of mental illness and health disparities among the Hispanic population are common due to difficulty accessing and receiving quality treatment. 

When it comes to health and well-being, the lack of resources is distressing for these communities: 

  • 1 in 4 Hispanics/Latinos don’t have health insurance
  • 37 percent of Hispanics/Latinos have had someone in their household lose their employer-provided insurance during COVID-19. 
  • Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods have 19 percent fewer pharmacies than non-Hispanic/Latino communities. 
  • Only 5 percent of licensed U.S. therapists are able to provide services in Spanish. 

Providers with little to no knowledge of cultural influences are likely to misdiagnose their patients. Although children of undocumented immigrants are eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, many families either are not aware of their eligibility or are cautious to register due to fear of separation and deportation. With that said, it’s important for these communities to feel that their identity is understood by their provider to receive the best possible competent care, culturally and linguistically. 

To better identify the support that’s needed, the National Alliance of Mental Illness recommends that Hispanic/Latino clients navigate their therapy sessions with these questions and resources. The National Alliance for Hispanic Health connects healthcare professionals and clients with programs to help with depression, recovery, and more. They also provide webinars and materials in both English and Spanish. According to data from Hispanic Star, Hispanic adults had the highest levels of physical inactivity and are 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Physical activity is a key component in maintaining good health. Short-term benefits of physical activity include reduced stress, improved moods, and long-term health improvements including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Fierce ingredients to elevate a healthy lifestyle

Lean meats, grains, yogurt, and fruits and vegetables are always essential when maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and there are specific ingredients that go beyond the basics that can boost a healthy diet. Cultural staples like mangos, beans, and plantains are also considered superfoods. They are loaded with health benefits, including probiotics, and reduce the risks of many cancers, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
This evidence-based article shows how these ingredients can make a difference in daily eating habits, along with a plethora of resources for culturally competent nutrition.

Join a Fiesta in Nevada

Southern Nevada

The Fiesta del Este 

When: Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: East Las Vegas Community Center

What: Enjoy face paintings and games for kids; a food fair, craft vendors, great music, and dance classes.

Northern Nevada

Reno has a collection of Latin festive events happening all month long, as well as the upcoming 2023 Latin Dance Fest.

Did you learn algo nuevo about health disparities among the Hispanic population? Click here to read the rest of the Nevada Health Link blog.