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Improving the Health of Hispanic Elderly

Eight communities – mostly large metropolitan markets – have been selected to participate in a Health and Human Services pilot initiative aimed at improving the health and quality of life for Hispanic senior citizens.

The metropolitan areas of Chicago, IL; Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio, TX; Los Angeles and San Diego, CA; Miami, FL; and New York, NY have been selected to take part in the pilot project, according to Carolyn Clancy, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and Josefina G. Carbonell, HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging.

The initiative is based on findings from the National Healthcare Disparities Report 2006 prepared by the AHRQ. The report said persistent and growing health disparities exist among Hispanic/Latino elders compared to the majority, non-Hispanic white elderly population.

Each community team will be developing and implementing a plan for addressing one or more health disparity. In their applications, most of the communities identified diabetes as a primary issue of concern for their population.

Hispanic elders have a higher incidence of certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, than the rest of the U.S. population. Twenty-one percent of Hispanic elders have diabetes compared to 14.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Hispanic elders are much more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes due to poor diabetes control, and they are far less likely to receive pneumonia or flu shots or participate in cancer screening services.

For more details about "Improving Hispanic Elders' Health: Community Partnerships for Evidence-Based Solutions," visit http://www.academyhealth.org/ahrq/elders.

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