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Health Status of Hispanic/Latina Women

Breast and Cervical Cancer
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic American/Latino women.

Although breast cancer is diagnosed about 30 percent less often among women of Hispanic origin, it is more often diagnosed at a later stage (when the disease is more advanced) than when found in non-Hispanic women, even when access to health care is adequate.

Access and lower rates like mammography among Hispanic American/Latino women are thought to add to this later diagnosis.

Death rates from cancers of the breast and cervix, all of which can be found early by screening, decreased less among Hispanic Americans/Latinos than among non-Hispanics.

Study results show that the number of new cases of invasive cervical cancer among Hispanic American/Latino women (age 30 years and older) is about twice that for non-Hispanic women.

Hispanic American/Latino women in the Southwest and Midwest have similar rates to non-Hispanics.

Overall, the death rate from cervical cancer is 40 percent higher among Hispanic American/Latino women than non-Hispanic women.

Although invasive cervical cancer can be prevented by regular screening, Hispanic American/Latino women have a low rate of Pap testing.

Cardiovascular Disease
In the United States in 2002, all cardiovascular diseases combined claimed the lives of 493,623 females while all forms of cancer combined to kill 268,503 females. Breast cancer claimed the lives of 41,514 females; lung cancer claimed 67,542.

Cardiovascular disease, including stroke, is the leading cause of death for Hispanic women.

Among Hispanic Americans/Latinos, the risk of stroke is 1.3 times higher at ages 35-64 than for non-Hispanics.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20.8 million Americans—7 percent of the U.S. population—have diabetes, up from 18.2 million in 2003. Nearly a third of these Americans are undiagnosed.

Findings from the latest report show 9.5 percent of Hispanics Mexican Americans aged 20 and older have diabetes.

Mexican-Americans (the largest group of Hispanics in the U.S.) are 1.7 times as likely to have diabetes as whites.

Puerto Ricans are 1.8 times as likely as whites to have diabetes.

Diabetes, including gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, is more common in Hispanic American/Latinos than in Whites.

Within the Hispanic American/Latino population, diabetes is more prevalent in women than it is in men.

Hispanic American/Latino women with diabetes are 7.6 times more likely to develop peripheral vascular disease (problems with blood flow in the veins) than non-diabetic women, and three-to-four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke.

Even though males account for the largest proportion (81 percent) of AIDS cases reported among Hispanic Americans/Latinos in the United States, the number of cases among females is rising.

Females represent 19 percent of all AIDS cases among Hispanic Americans/Latinos, but account for 23 percent of cases reported in 2000 alone.

The rate of HIV infection is seven times higher in Hispanic American/Latino women than in White women.

For the largest proportion (47 percent) of adult and adolescent Hispanic American/Latino women with AIDS, heterosexual contact (mostly with injection drug users) is the cause for their disease.

Injection drug use accounts for an additional 40 percent of AIDS cases among Hispanic American/Latino women.

Hispanic women were 4.3 times as likely to die from HIV/AIDS as non-Hispanic white women.

In 2002, Hispanic adults aged 65 and older were 30% less likely to have received the influenza (flu) shot in the past 12 months, as compared to non-Hispanic whites of the same age group.

In 2002, Hispanic adults aged 65 and older were 50% less likely to have ever received the pneumonia shot, as compared to non-Hispanic white adults of the same age group.

Although Hispanic children aged 19 to 35 months had comparable rates of immunization for hepatitis, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and polio, they were slightly less likely to be fully immunized, when compared to non-Hispanic white children.

Infant Deaths
Understanding infant death is difficult and can bring anger, pain, sadness, and confusion. Causes of infant deaths vary, but could include SIDS, birth defects, pre-term/low birthweight, problems from pregnancy, accidents, or respiratory distress syndrome.

In the United States, prematurity/low birthweight is the second leading cause of all infant deaths (during the first year of life).

During 2000-2002 (average) in the United States, preterm birth rates were highest for black infants (17.6 percent), followed by Native Americans (12.9 percent), Hispanics (11.4 percent), whites (10.7 percent) and Asians (10.2 percent).

In 2002, infant mortality rates for Hispanic subpopulations ranged from 3.7 per 1,000 live births to 8.2 per 1,000 live births, compared to the non-Hispanic white infant mortality rate of 5.8 per 1,000 live births.

In 2002, Puerto Ricans had 1.4 times the infant mortality rate of non-Hispanic whites.

Puerto Rican infants were 2.2 times as likely to die from causes related to low birthweight, as compared to non-Hispanic white infants.

Mexican American mothers were 2.6 times as likely as non-Hispanic white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive prenatal care at all.

Obesity and Overweight
Obesity is measured with a Body Mass Index—BMI—which shows the relationship of weight to height. Women with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while women with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese.

Among Americans ages 20 and older, 134.8 million are overweight or obese—68.6 million are men and 66.2 million are women. Of these, 63.1 million are obese—27.5 million are men and 35.6 million are women.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, breathing problems, arthritis, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea (breathing problems while sleeping), osteoarthritis and some cancers.

Obesity in Mexican American women, the largest Hispanic/Latino subgroup, is 1.5 times more common (reaching 52 percent) than in the general, female population.

And 57.1 percent of Hispanic American/Latino women are sedentary (have no leisure-time physical activity).

Content Last Modified: 11/23/2005 1:15:00 PM
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