Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

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What is the goal of the HCHS/SOL?

The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) is the largest, most comprehensive long-term study of Hispanic and Latino health and disease in the United States. 

The HCHS/SOL aims to identify: 

  • The prevalence of specific long-term or chronic conditions  especially heart and lung conditions including heart disease, stroke, asthma, COPD, and sleep disorders.
  • Risks and protective factors linked to  developing these conditions. 
  • The relationship between initial health and future health events for people from diverse backgrounds who identify as Hispanic and/or Latino and currently live in the United States.


  • The HCHS/SOL is the most comprehensive long-term study of health and disease in people who are Hispanic and Latino living in the United States.
  • The study has enrolled over 16,000 Hispanic and Latino adults from four U.S. communities.
  • Study data paves the way for future research into possible causes of health disparities for Hispanic and Latino people.

What are the key findings from the HCHS/SOL?

Since the start of the study, researchers have collected data on a wide variety of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, asthma, COPD, sleep disorders, dental disease, hearing disorders, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and cognitive function.

The HCHS/SOL study found that:

  • All major U.S. communities of Hispanic or Latino people had about the same or higher risk for heart (cardiovascular) disease compared to non-Hispanic white people.
  • 71% of Hispanic and Latina women and 80% of Hispanic and Latino men have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • There are major differences in conditions and risk factors between Hispanic or Latino people from different backgrounds. 

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- Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

Other study findings include:

  • Tobacco use: The highest percentage of current smokers identified as Puerto Rican, while the second highest percentage identified as Cuban. People from these backgrounds also had higher rates of asthma and COPD. 
  • High blood pressure: HCHS/SOL participants had slightly lower rates of high blood pressure than non-Hispanic white people. However, young men in the study with high blood pressure were less likely to know their blood pressure status. Of those young men who were aware, less than half were getting treatment or working to get their blood pressure under control. 
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is very common for Hispanic and Latino people in the U.S. People of Mexican, Central American, and South American backgrounds had the highest rates of diabetes Also, almost 40% of people who met the criteria for diabetes did not know they had the condition. 
  • Cholesterol: Central American men and Puerto Rican women were most likely to have high cholesterol levels. 
  • Heart disease and brain health: Hispanic and Latino people who had higher risks for cardiovascular diseaseshad trouble with memory and cognition. 

Ongoing studies

Studies within the HCHS/SOL continue today, including:

  • Investigations of the gut microbiome and its association with diabetes
  • How maternal health before conception can influence a child’s likelihood to develop obesity
  • The impact of inactive lifestyles (sedentary patterns) on obesity, insulin resistance, and blood sugar (glucose) levels. 
  • The study of Peripheral vascular disease (also known as Peripheral Artery Disease)
  • Stiffening of the arteries and diseases of the brain’s small blood vessels, and how these conditions influence cognitive function and dementias
  • Chronic eye disease, sexual orientation, gender identity, and heart disease risk 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess fibrosis of the liver and heart function
  • Computed tomography (CT) imaging assessments of calcium in the coronary artery to study subclinical, or early, heart disease. 
  • The impact of air pollution on the development of diabetes. 

HCHS/SOL data and samples continue to spur new areas of scientific discovery. 

Researchers can learn more about how to access HCHS/SOL resources through the study and through NHLBI’s cloud-based ecosystem, Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC/BioData Catalyst).

How is the HCHS/SOL conducted?

The study has recruited over 16,000 Hispanic and Latino adults, including those who self-identified as having a Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American, or “other/mixed Hispanic/Latino” background. 

Researchers selected communities that closely mirrored areas of the United States where many people of these specific Hispanic and Latino backgrounds live. In doing so, the researchers could understand common conditions and risk factors both broadly and within each specific community. 

Researchers have followed participants at four centers affiliated with San Diego State University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx area of New York, and the University of Miami. A research coordinating center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill provides additional scientific and logistical support. 

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- Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

Between 2008 and 2011, volunteers ages 18 to 74 received initial assessments and tests to understand any risk factors they had at the start of the study. 

Each year since 2009, the team has conducted follow-up interviews to understand participants’ changing health outcomes. 

The study has expanded significantly beyond collecting cross-sectional baseline data. It has led to many offshoot, or ancillary, studies with goals and objectives beyond those of the original HCHS/SOL. 

These studies, some still ongoing, have assessed additional risk factors such as: 

  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood lipids
  • Genetic factors
  • How adopting U.S. cultural norms impacts health (acculturation)
  • Social and economic determinants of health
  • Psychosocial influences
  • Work, jobs, and occupations
  • Healthcare access
  • Medicines and supplements
  • Environmental and community impacts on health

Who funds the HCHS/SOL?
- Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

The HCHS/SOL is in its third contract period and is currently co-funded by the NHLBI and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

Previously, the study was funded by the following: 

  • 2013-2018: Co-funded by the NHLBI and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
  • 2006-2013: Co-funded by the NHLBI, NIMHD, the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), the National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.