The Doctor is Out: Hispanic Health Publications in Print and Online (Part I)

A central question that haunts the Hispanic Health Media landscape is this: Given that the U.S. Hispanic population is disproportionately afflicted by diabetes, heart disease and other treatable illnesses, why are media that address these issues struggling to sustain themselves? One would think that the big pharmaceutical companies would be lining up to advertise their wares to the nation’s Latinos. But this has not been the case.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Hispanics are 38 percent less likely than non-Hispanics to have visited the doctor within the past year. Other notable statistics shedding light on the Hispanic healthcare landscape are:

25% of U.S. Hispanics have never had their cholesterol checked.

66% of Hispanics over 50 have never had a colonoscopy.

54% of Hispanic women over 40 have not had a mammogram in the past year.

1/3 of U.S. Hispanics do not have health insurance.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

According to the AHRQ, the low rate of coverage for U.S. Hispanics is compounded by linguistic and cultural barriers that keep them from accessing much needed healthcare.

“The reality is that there are many pressing health concerns facing the Hispanic population in the U.S.,” says Carlos Olea, Publisher of Un Buen Doctor, a print and online vehicle that aids Hispanics in making health-related decisions. “Starting with the high incidence of Obesity, which triggers an array of unhealthy conditions, we have staggering numbers on conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as on STDs like HIV.” Olea cites the high cost of healthcare and lack of culturally-relevant in-language resources as prohibitive factors for Hispanics seeking healthcare.

Seeking to increase the number of Hispanics seeking out healthcare, the U.S. Department of Health and the Ad Council recently teamed up in a joint effort called the Superhéroes Campaign. The campaign uses the strong Latino family ties to encourage Hispanics to stay healthy for their loved ones. It features everyday mothers and fathers whose children see them as superheroes and encourages Hispanic adults to be more involved in their health care, especially preventive care.

Related Article:

Hispanic Health Advertising: Lots of promises but will they be realized? (Feb ’08)

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