Latinos: Government Should Help People Live Healthy, Even if it Costs More


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Latinos are significantly more likely than whites to say that the government should do more to make sure that Americans are healthier, even if it costs the taxpayers more (63% v. 53%), according to the 2017 Healthy Americas Survey.

It makes sense.

Here’s why: Latinos suffer worse rates of obesity and other health issues because of lack of investment in safe streets, sidewalks, and parks, as well as lack of access to healthy food, early care and education, and family support.

So what exactly do Latinos want?

2017 Healthy Americas Survey

You’ve heard that your ZIP code is a better predictor of your health than your genetic code, right?

Past policies dictated the location and quality of affordable housing, public transportation, schools, sidewalks, parks, healthy food options, healthcare, community resources, and much more in your ZIP code.

The 2017 Healthy Americas Survey aimed to see what Latinos think about health in their ZIP code.

The telephone survey, conducted by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and the University of Southern California, included 869 American adults between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1, with about one-third Latinos (of any race).

When asked to cite top community health priorities:

  • Latinos and African Americans were significantly more likely than whites to cite availability of decent housing (74% and 88% v. 63%) as a priority.
  • Latinos and African Americans were significantly more likely than whites to cite availability of bike lanes, sidewalks, and public transportation (63% and 59% v. 45%).
  • Latinos also were more likely than whites to say that cost prevented them from buying fruits and vegetables in the past 12 months (41% vs. 30%).

Findings also indicate that Latinos want a stronger role for government in health:

  • Tobacco 21 Age to Purchase: Both Latinos (72%) and African Americans (76%) are significantly more likely than whites (60%) to report that they agree strongly or somewhat that the legal age to buy tobacco cigarettes should be increased from age 18 to 21.
  • Sugary Drink Tax: Latinos (50%) are significantly more likely that whites (39%) and African Americans (33%) to report that they agree strongly or somewhat with cities enacting taxes on sugary drinks.

Ultimately, these findings indicate that Latinos understand how the environment impacts health. They support policy changes to improve individual and community health.

“These survey results might indicate a rising knowledge of the health dangers of overconsumption of sugar. And that Latinos are more apt to support community, school, and government efforts like a sugary drink tax that aim to promote healthier choices in local communities,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of Salud America!, in assessing the findings of the new survey.

Get Involved

Salud America! is here to fuel people to start and support policy, system, and environmental changes in schools and communities to improve Latino health, reduce disparities, and promote lifelong well-being.

  • Learn how communities are making streets safer and how organizations are raising the bar for equitable improvements to safe streets in vulnerable neighborhoods.
  • Learn how schools are improving and opening their school yards to not only to increase physical activity but also to manage storm water runoff.
  • Learn about culturally appropriate programs and policies to support early childhood development for Latino kids.

“I hope healthcare providers and officials see these survey results and continue to explore beneficial systems and policy changes to improve the health of Latino and all families at the school, community, state, and federal levels,” Ramirez said. “We want Latinos to live in communities where the healthy choice is the easy choice.”

By The Numbers By The Numbers



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