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CHW Health Disparities Initiative

Improving Hispanic/Latino Heart Health

As the largest ethnic/racial minority group in the United States, Hispanics/Latinos make up 16.7 percent of the total U.S. population. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Hispanic/Latinos in the United States,1 due in large part to risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight/obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, and diabetes. The good news is that most of these risks factors can be prevented or controlled with education and changes in lifestyle. That is why it is important for Hispanic/Latinos to take early action to reduce their risk for heart disease.

Read on to find out how community health worker (CHW) heart health programs were implemented targeting Hispanic/Latino Americans:

The NHLBI has a long history of working with the Hispanic/Latino communities across the United States to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate heart health resources and to establish a wide range of partnerships to mobilize communities. Many of these programs are known as Salud para su Corazón programs.

Recent studies have shown that people with lower socioeconomic status are much more likely to develop heart disease than those who are wealthier or better educated.2 Hispanic/Latino communities in the United States have a poverty rate of 26.6 percent and an uninsurance rate of 30.7 percent, important factors that negatively impact Hispanic/Latino health and access to adequate health care services.3

Since 1999, community health workers/promotores de salud trained in the use of the Your Heart, Your Life manual, have played a key role in conducting heart health education and implementing outreach activities to support behavior change in Hispanic/Latino communities. Promotores deliver key heart health messages in community health centers, church halls, recreation centers, and other community sites.

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1 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (1996). Latino Community Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Outreach Initiative: Background report.pdf document icon (PDF, 302 KB)

2 Franks, P., Winters, P. C., Tancredi, D. J., & Fiscella, K. A. (2010). Do changes in transitional coronary heart disease risk factors over time explain the association between socio-economic status and coronary heart disease? BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 11(28). doi: 10.1186/1471-2261-11-28

3 U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010. pdf document icon (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Last Updated: June 2014