US Hispanics face higher risks from diabetes, liver disease

May 5, 2015

Hispanics in the United States face a higher risk than whites of dying from diabetes and liver disease, according to the first nationwide report of its kind released Tuesday by US health authorities.

When compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics were less vulnerable to most leading causes of death, but were about 50 percent more likely to die from diabetes or and cirrhosis, said the report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, like whites, the leading two causes of death for Hispanics are and cancer.

"Four out of 10 Hispanics die of heart disease or cancer. By not smoking and staying physically active, such as walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, Hispanics can reduce their risk for these chronic diseases and others such as diabetes," said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

The report also found key differences in health between those born inside and outside the United States.

"Foreign-born Hispanics experience better health and fewer health risks than US-born Hispanics for some key health indicators such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and smoking," the report said.

Researchers said one possible explanation for the disparity was those born in the United States may have longer exposure to US environmental factors including poor diet and an excess of processed foods.

There were also health differences apparent among countries of origin.

For example, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans were about twice as likely to die from diabetes as whites, according to the report.

Mexicans were also nearly twice as likely to die from and cirrhosis as whites.

Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, where almost one in six identifies as Hispanic—for a total of some 57 million people.

The population is projected to rise to nearly one in four (more than 85 million) by 2035.

Explore further: Being born in another country may protect against stroke for US Hispanics

More information: CDC report: www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns

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