The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) is the most comprehensive study of Hispanic/Latino health and disease in the United States. The primary goals of the HCHS/SOL are to describe: (1) the prevalence of selected chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions, including heart disease, stroke, asthma, COPD, sleep disorders; (2) the risk and/or protective factors associated with these conditions; and (3) the relationship between the initial health profiles and future health events in a cohort of Hispanics and Latinos from diverse heritage groups living in the United States.
The first contract period of the HCHS/SOL (2006-2013), during which the initial exam was performed, was co-funded by the NHLBI, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), the National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. The second contract period (2013-2018) was co-funded by the NHLBI and NIDDK. Now, the HCHS/SOL is in its third contract period (2018-2024), co-funded by the NHLBI and NIMHD. To date, it has collected data on a wide variety of 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 a comparable or higher burden of cardiovascular disease risk among all major U.S. Hispanic and Latino groups, compared to non-Hispanic whites living in the United States. Additionally, study data showed considerable differences among Hispanics of various backgrounds. It has been shown that 71 percent of Hispanic and Latina women and 80 percent of Hispanic and Latino men have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Other findings from the study include:
The study findings have allowed researchers to provide a baseline for describing and understanding the health of contemporary U.S. Hispanic and Latino populations. In 2013, researchers released a report to the study’s participating communities that summarized their research. Currently, researchers are genetic data from approximately 13,000 participants in the HCHS/SOL study are being analyzed by genetic epidemiology working groups and investigators from collaborating consortia. The NHLBI continues to leverage HCHS/SOL data and specimens to spur new scientific discovery. We invite researchers to utilize the valuable resources that have been collected since the study began in 2006. Learn more about utilizing HCHS/SOL resources through the study website and through NHLBI’s Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC).
The study recruited over 16,000 Hispanic and Latino adults and included those with family roots in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Participants have been followed 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 has provided additional scientific and logistical support.
Between 2008 and 2011, participants aged 18 to 74 years underwent initial exams and assessments to determine what risk factors they had at the start of the study. Annual follow-up interviews have been conducted since 2009 to assess selected health outcomes. During the second study phase, 2013 -2018, study participants had a second exam and will continue the annual follow-up interviews. In the meantime, study findings are being analyzed, and publication of the results in scientific journals, and their dissemination to the communities involved in the study, continues. Also, with support from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, the program has been renewed and a third cohort examination will begin later this year.
As director of the HCHS/SOL, Larissa Avilés-Santa is leading efforts to gather critical data on the health of Hispanic and Latino people—the largest minority group in the United States. She hopes the study will ultimately lead to strategies that can minimize the underlying causes of chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes that often burden this community, opportunities for innovative prevention research, and the enhancement of the careers of early stage investigators interested in Hispanic health, and those of Hispanic background.