Hispanic Life Expectancy Statistics Report Released

CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has issued “United States Life Tables by Hispanic Origin,” which provides life tables by Hispanic origin based on 2006 death rate data.

Life expectancy at birth for the total population in 2006 was 77.7 years; 80.6 years for the Hispanic population, 78.1 years for the non-Hispanic white population, and 72.9 years for the non-Hispanic black population.

The Hispanic population has a life expectancy advantage at birth of 2.5 years over the non-Hispanic white population and 7.7 years over the non-Hispanic black population. The reasons behind the lower mortality are not known.

Source: CDC (10/13/2010)

Arthritis Impact on African-Americans and Hispanics

Arthritis causes more pain and limitations for African-Americans and Hispanics than for whites, according to a study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

African-Americans were 17 percent less likely to report having arthritis than whites, and Hispanics were 46 percent less likely to report the condition than whites, the study said. However, African-Americans and Hispanics with arthritis were almost twice as likely to report severe joint pain and work limitations attributed to their arthritis when compared to whites, it said.

The study, “Difference in the Prevalence and Impact of Arthritis among Racial/Ethnic Groups,” was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting 20% of adults. It interferes with work and other daily activities and can complicate the management of other chronic diseases. Arthritis encompasses more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect joints and other connective tissue.

The reason for the racial and ethnic differences, while unknown, may result from a lack of access to health care, language barriers and cultural differences, the report says.

“We must address these stark differences in arthritis impact by using what we know,” said Jennifer Hootman, an epidemiologist for the CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and co-author of the report. “We can educate those with arthritis about increasing physical activity and self-management and reducing obesity, especially those in groups bearing a disproportionate burden from arthritis.”

The data, collected from the CDC National Health Interview Survey, are the first to estimate the national prevalence of arthritis and assess its impact among smaller racial and ethnic groups that are usually grouped together when reporting health statistics.

Source: CDC, April 15, 2010

Spanish-Language TV Commercials Contributing to Latino Youth Obesity, Says Study

The rising obesity epidemic among Latino youth may be traceable to the sheer volume of Spanish-language fast-food television commercials, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatrics. The research was conducted by pediatricians from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

"While we cannot blame overweight and obesity solely on TV commercials, there is solid evidence that children exposed to such messages tend to have unhealthy diets and to be overweight," says study lead investigator Darcy Thompson, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatrician at Hopkins Children’s. Past research among English-speaking children has shown that TV ads influence food preferences, particularly among the more impressionable young viewers.

Programming during the heaviest childrens’ viewing hours on Univision and Telemundo, the two leading Spanish-language channels in the US, was monitored. (These channels reach 99% and 93% of US Latino households). The two or three food commercials aired each hour specifically targeted children, with nearly 50% of commercials advertising fast food, soda and other high sugar content drinks.

The researchers recommend limiting young children’s TV viewing to two hours a day or less, with parental guidance on healthy diet and food choices. Children under 2 should not be allowed to watch any TV at all, advise pediatricians.

Other recommendations include advising Latino childrens’ pediatricians of their parents’ heavy exposure to food advertising; and following the lead of many European countries in urging public health authorities to appeal to policy makers to limit food advertising to children.

The Journal of Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.09.011.