Sometime in the next decade Latinos, already the largest minority group in California, are expected to become the largest minority group in the nation. With that growth comes some large problems. Health care and insurance are among the most serious, as spelled out in disturbing detail in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn.
Its collection of studies, surveys and government reports adds up to one of the most exhaustive examinations of the state of the health of the U.S. Latino population. Overall, the news is not encouraging. Latinos, along with African-Americans, tend to contract serious diseases more often, have less access to prompt treatment and therefore have more health complications than non-Latino whites.
Similarly, Latinos are up to three times more likely to develop diabetes, and when they do they are more likely to develop serious complications, such as blindness. Latinos are more likely to be sick with tuberculosis and hypertension. They also suffer disproportionately from cancers of the cervix, stomach, esophagus, breast and pancreas.
Latinos currently make up about 8% of the national population, but account for about 14% of all AIDS cases, about 21% of AIDS cases among women and 22% of cases among children.