Hispanic Americans Need Culturally Tailored Heart Care

Hispanics represent the fastest-growing racial or ethnic population in the United States and are expected to constitute 30 percent of the total U.S. population by the year 2050. Yet, there is no comprehensive document about the cultural values and behavioral aspects that influence cardiovascular health promotion, prevention, and acceptance of treatment recommendations among Hispanics.

“This segment of the population has been somewhat ignored,” said Carlos Rodriguez, M.D., M.P.H., lead statement author and chair of the writing group and an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Given the large Hispanic population in the U.S., it would be very hard to improve the health of the nation if this population is left behind.”

Hispanics include a diverse population with origins in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Central and South America.

Customized approaches are needed to improve cardiovascular health and facilitate the acceptance of treatments to prevent or treat heart disease and stroke. Healthcare providers, researchers and policymakers must consider cultural values and beliefs, language, the impact of acculturation and other factors when developing such strategies.

Some of the statement recommendations for improving cardiovascular health in Hispanics include:

Addressing the cardiovascular health of U.S. minority populations, such as Hispanics, will help improve the cardiovascular health of the entire U.S. as a whole.

“We need to embrace the Hispanic population and include them in the cardiovascular health goals we have for the entire country,” Rodriguez said.

Co-authors are Matthew Allison, M.D., M.P.H.; Martha L. Daviglus, M.D., Ph.D.; Carmen R. Isasi, M.D., Ph.D.; Colleen Keller, Ph.D.; Enrique C. Leira, M.D., M.S.; Latha Palaniappan, M.D., M.S.; Ileana L. Pia, M.D., M.P.H.; Sarah Ramirez, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Beatriz Rodriguez, Ph.D., M.P.H.; and Mario Sims, Ph.D., M.S. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.