South Bay Study: Latino Immigrants Face Health Challenges
Santa Clara County’s rapidly growing Latino population is facing significant health risks as it becomes more assimilated to U.S. culture.
That’s according to a new county study on the status of Latino and Hispanic health.
County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fentstersheib says socio-economic status and lifestyle play a big role.
"Even though there’s a current advantage that we see that Latinos live longer than whites and African Americans," Dr. Fentstershieb says, "or that they have lower rates of cancer, over time, we know that health status is highly influenced by behavior and access to care. Over time, those other influences may weigh heavily negatively."
The study shows increasing problems with obesity the longer people live here - what Fentstersheib calls this “the immigrant effect.”
Latino adults have a higher rate of obesity and diabetes than adults countywide.
But Latino immigrants are less likely to be obese than Latinos born in the United States.
The study also found limited access to healthy foods and safe places for exercise in the county's primarily Latino neighborhoods.