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Latinos meet more "heart-healthy" standards than other Americans

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 A blood pressure monitor on a printout of a heart and heartbeat graph. (stock image)ANN ARBOR—Latinos are more likely than other Americans to have ideal blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, engage in more physical activity and refrain from smoking. But like most other Americans, they have challenges with maintaining a heart-healthy diet and weight.

Those are the main findings of a study conducted by Hector M. González, an adjunct faculty associate at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research who is also affiliated with Wayne State University.

González and other researchers examined information from nearly 16,000 adults of Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Central and South American ethnicity to study cardiovascular health. They used the seven indicators of ideal cardiovascular health identified by the American Heart Association: blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, physical activity, nonsmoking status, diet, and weight.

González is lead author of the study report, released today at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

"We found remarkable variability in the AHA Life's Simple 7 rates among Latino ethnicities that underscores the importance of understanding the unique cardiovascular health characteristic of this culturally diverse and increasingly important population in the United States," González said.

Among the key findings:

  • More than 75 percent of Latinos surveyed had never smoked or had quit smoking.
  • More than half (51 percent) of Latinos had ideal levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity compared to a national rate of just under 40 percent.
  • About 53 percent of Latinos had ideal blood pressure, compared to a national rate of about 31 percent.
  • Less than 25 percent of Latinos had an ideal body mass index compared to a national rate of 32 percent.

The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, based at the University of North Carolina, is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and six other institutes, centers and offices of the National Institutes of Health.

For more information about the study, visit www.cscc.unc.edu/hchs.